OCCHI 2004

Streets of Naples. Naples 2004


*Occhi: eyes in Italian. *Burqa: is usually understood to be the woman’s loose body-covering (Arabic: jilbāb), plus the head-covering (Arabic: ḥijāb, taking the most usual meaning), plus the face-veil (Arabic: niqāb). The word comes from the Arabic root /r/+/q/+/ʕ/ which means “to patch up” or “to sew up”.[1] The face-veil portion is usually a rectangular piece of semi-transparent cloth whose top side is sewn to corresponding portion of the head-scarf, so that the veil hangs down loose from the scarf, and it can be turned up if the woman wishes to reveal her face (otherwise the whole face would be covered). In other cases, the niqāb part can be a side-attached cloth which covers the face below the eyes’ region. The face-veil portion is also called purdah ([pərd̪aː]), a Persian word meaning “curtain”.

I dressed in a full length black Burka and Niqāb which covered my entire body and face. I duct taped a small video camera around my neck and was allowed through a tiny orifice in the cloth to film the outside. I proceeded to walk around the city of Naples completely veiled except for my eyes. As I was filming from inside the Burka I had another cameraman film me from afar. As an orthodox muslim woman walking the streets alone in a european city I encountered many people and many different reactions. Children and teenagers were the most curious and open to conversation, some people yelled “Bin Laden” at me, most people just stared. The only thing exposed were my eyes.

From this documentation I made a video that captures the inside and the outside of the experience, how I viewed the world and how the world viewed me. The photograph in the newspaper was taken by a journalist that thought I was a veiled tourist.