Lowering the gaze: Impressions of Muslim women in Cape Town
his collection of mainly photographs begins to address the ways in which Muslim women are portrayed in the collections of two national heritage institutions. The images of Muslim women or Cape Malay women, as they are called in the documentation, were collected over several decades by the National Library of South Africa (NLSA) and Iziko Museums. It is argued that they are typical of an ‘orientalising’ paradigm. Looking at the fragments of women’s history uncovered in the NLSA and Iziko archives, it becomes clear to one that the images leave out much more than what they include.
Muslim women are challenging orientalist and reactionary writings about themselves and reconstructing an alternative paradigm, in which they actively transcend historical and social restrictions. In this way, misconceptions and myths about Muslim women may diminish.
This exhibition is based on research by Maheerah Gamieldien.