Women in White by Kelly Izdihar Crosby
acrylic and fabric on canvas, 18 x 24 inches, $180
My “Women in White” painting is including of a series of paintings done with Muslim women as the subject matter. It’s one of a three-part painting series. The other two paintings are entitled “Women in Black” and “Women in Gold.”
This painting is just one of many attempts to mute my palette. Whenever starting a new project, I always gravitate to using bold and bright colors. Not that there’s anything wrong with that but I’m just stretching my palette choices a little bit. All these three paintings are done with muted, neutral tones.The rose gold color is about as close to a reddish tone as it gets.
After completing these series of paintings, I learned quickly that muted does not mean boring or lacking in vitality. My ladies are decked out in milky, silky creams, accented with black, gold, copper, and rose gold. They wear soft-patterned hijabs and sophisticated turbans. I used my favorite art medium–fabric paint–to create the shiny and glittered textures.
I like how it came out. Of course, I had fun painting my ladies in various skin tones. I feel like it is absolutely crucial to show the diversity of Muslim people in my work. Islam is a global faith, but for many people, it only has an Arab, olive-skinned face. But nothing could be further from reality. We are blue-black, sable, tawny, cinnamon, porcelain, alabaster, chai, cafe au lait. (See how I had fun naming those shades!) To promote this awareness, I’ve chosen a mixture of light and dark skin tones for this piece.
I’ve also have chosen to depict different hijab styles–highlighting another expression of diversity in Islam. Muslim women cover our heads in so many different ways. Depicting the various headscarves and wraps show our differently we interpret hijab and what hijab means to each individual Muslim woman.