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“A Badass Veiled Girl”: E-mail Interview with Guerrilla Artist Princess Hijab

Migration & border issues
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Jenny Gunnarsson Payne: For how long have ‘Princess Hijab’ been around? How and why did the project start?

Princess Hijab: I created a personality in 2006. She is the synthesis of my own maturation, work, and introspection. I started doing collage, drawing, video, and fashion design, all of which were gradually absorbed by Princess, a veiled young girl, pure by day and wicked by night.

JGP: What are the main aims of your project? What are you hoping to achieve?

PH: My work has no limits, but right now it’s about creating a story and a life. I’m part of today’s “covering” trend, but my aim is to antagonize, to challenge the acceptable and the ordinary without exposing her physicality. This provides her with distance and functional anonymity.

JGP: You say on your website that you are not part of any political or religious movement. 
Why is it important to you not to be part of any movement?

PH: I am free to express what I like, without binding myself to ideologies or worse, ideologues.

JGP: Would you describe your art as political? How?

PH: Right now, I’m not interested in the political implications of what I do; I’m positioning myself as an observer. Anyone who takes my position as anything but anti- is doing more harm than good for me.

JGP: Would you say your art challenges gender stereotypes—and is this an explicit aim of your art? If so, why is this important?

PH: My character definitely challenges gender, even just by its existence: men are generally the heroes of Guerilla Art, and no one’s ever known how badass veiled girls can be.

JGP: Would you say your art is feminist? Why, or why not? And, how would you define feminism?

PH: Princess is derived from a movement, but so was le smoking. I have much more to say. I would not define, much less be defined by, any set of beliefs other than my own.

JGP: I know you are inspired by movements such as Adbusters and texts such as Naomi Klein’s No Logo. What role does your art work play in challenging consumer capitalism? Is this an important aim for you?

PH: My art is rooted in a thinking process and posture which fight society’s codes and conventions. It’s since touched upon more global issues (anti-advertisement campaigns, state-secularism and religion), by my work will always be a game between myself and my city.
Princess Hijab has the clothes and the directness of an Adbuster. She reminds us of the excesses and the failures of our consumer society, but there is no attempt at utopianism…I am simply aware that a paradigm shift is needed.

Princess Hijab
Jenny Gunnarsson Payne
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