Sydney-based artist Cigdem Aydemir doesn't care about protecting the image of Islam as much as she does about how these images affect Muslim lives worldwide.
Cigdem Aydemir is an artist based in Sydney, Australia. Her work tackles social and political issues surrounding the representations of Muslims. It exposes assumptions about Muslim women and subversive representations of the ‘veil’. In this series, her work explores the female Muslim body, otherness, representation, identity and notions of beauty. Performances make up a large body of her work and is based on inquiry, scrutiny and amusement.
TRT World interviewed her about her thoughts and the ideas behind the work she produces
TRT WORLD: How do you come up with ideas for your art?
CIGDEM AYDEMIR: I take notes. I read from philosophers and theorists, and try to make sense of the world. There is the question of whether art is a mirror that reflects reality, or a hammer that shapes it. I think it is both. Sometimes seeing an event for what it is, calling it for what it is, can be an empowering and revolutionary act. The other part of it is that art is a language for me. It’s poetry. I’m not thinking of how I can create a product, I’m thinking of how I can articulate a complexity as eloquently as possible.
Do you feel that your art can create change?
CA: If the question is can art lead to change, yes I think it is possible, but not in the direct way that we think of change. An artwork has never stopped a war. But it can leave a sediment in the viewer’s mind that can lead to change, most often within themselves. I’d like to think that some of my work has led to this kind of change, but most of the time I am concerned with creating the change within myself.
In your opinion, who is responsible for propagating antagonistic images of Islam?
CA: It’s not so much the image of Islam that I am concerned with protecting but how these images affect Muslim lives, whether it be in Iraq, Palestine, Turkey or Australia. More pernicious is the way these images find their way into our psyche, affecting the way we view ourselves and relate to others.
Cigdem Aydemir is featured in the documentary “You See Monsters” which will air on TRT World.