Wednesday, January 18, 2012


NEW STUDENT IN A BURKA. In the fall of 2011, for the first time here at the Georgia Tech Language Institute where I teach English, I noticed a student wearing a burka. For several years now, I have been observing the women in hijabs from Turkey, Saudia Abrabia, Jordan, and Libya, intrigued by the fabrics and myriad of designs as well as by the various ways that the women adjust their scarves around their temples, ears, and neck. In my art, I have allowed these women in hijabs to become symbols of what I do not understand--in other words--the GREAT MYSTERY! I am curious about this new student who has chosen to wear her burka to our international classrooms. Perhaps, it is the way her eyes glance out at all of us--seeing us in full form--as she moves down the hallway, a bit hidden and obscured. I hope in the coming weeks, I might get to know her. (art by Hallelujah Truth)


  1. I'm thinking about the feminist theory about the male "gaze" that depersonalizes women, empowers men, the idea of spheres of public space for men and private space for women. It's curious here that while the woman in the burka is protected by yards of cloth from the male gaze, and dis-empowered by all that fabric she has to lug around outside, nevertheless I am drawn to HER eyes and her gaze through the slit of open space in this garment. My entire focus goes to her eyes surveying her environment.

  2. Amal is in my 100 Speaking/Listening class. I was wondering how I would talk with her. I focus on her eyes.