WORKSHOP: Digital Drawing – misinterpretation

This digital sketch is concerned with the unfair misinterpretation of Muslims in Britain. For such a diverse and predominantly accepting society, there is still much stigma surrounding Muslim culture in this country – which often leads to unjust prejudice and discrimination. The issue of representation largely stems from a historical context of war in Islamic territory which resultantly followed up with multiple attacks on British soil. In the same way that ‘these people’ judged our country based on the actions of few, we use terrorism as fuel for hate towards an entire body of people and end up leaving them too, victims of hate crime and violence.

My inspiration was collated from primary and secondary resources. From a contextual view I have the advantage of understanding first hand the verbal brutality that is inflicted towards people of Islamic heritage, growing up with a Muslim girl in a small, rural and (white) Christian dominated town. I saw this as incentive to raise awareness to the topic as stated in ‘Prejudice against Muslims’ therefore concluded that propaganda style, promotional material was appropriate to produce. Secondary sources presented further ideas as I found ongoing Channel 4 drama series ‘Ackley Bridge’ particularly accurate in presenting the topic. In specific, series 2 episode 7 revolved around the more violent side of conflict between families of ‘pure British’ background, against Islamic migrants in rural Britain. The aesthetic side was quite deeply thought out in terms of the formal elements. My intention was for visible line to be sketchy, rough and therefore slightly threatening in conjunction with monochrome black and white for a more sinister feel at first glance. The awareness to concept is then bought into perspective through shape and composition. Central to the image is the round opening of the hijab framing the eyes and upper face. Generally a circular form is symbolic of unity and wholesomeness. It’s an emblem for security and can be seen on various logos including that of the Metropolitan Police Service. The irony is that a hijab is often seen as one of the most intimidating attributes of a Muslim person however the entire nature is of modesty and protection. Additionally the evident shaping of the forehead displays emotions of fear and desperation. She wasn’t present at the 7/7 attacks so why should she be feeling the blame?

The overall tone is quite dark and while there is no pattern, the colour scheme and digital textures generate depth and in my opinion make the image clear in concept. Finally to summarise the message behind the illustration I layered text in Arabic and English both of the word ‘misunderstood’. I feel it encapsulates the vision that I wanted to communicate and is appropriate in font and size for the overall look.

This image was rendered using the Adobe Photoshop Express app on my iPad and then edited with on Apple Pages. If I were to do it again I’d send it to a PC and use Illustrator to put together a more mood-board-style poster however didn’t have access at the time.

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