We are Not a Monolith: Portraits of Muslim women by Tasneem, photographer who's also a Muslim woman

Brown Girl Magazine recently featured the work of my friend Tasneem Nanji, whose photographs of Muslim women in London and New York illuminate the lives of individuals consistently portrayed as one-dimensional "others" in media.

Tasneem, whose creative work you can support here, says,

Tasneem (self-portrait)

Last summer i traveled to London where i was drawn to photograph the Muslim women I saw there going about their daily lives. Of course over the years It dawned on me that Muslim women across the globe are seen as one dimensional. By now that notion is as loud as ever.

As i was exploring London i found myself in the midst of an existence that for these women was multi dimensional. Students, tourists, Shoppers, Teachers, women Listening to music, riding the train and ordering food. Muslim women in the media are often portrayed in war torn countries surrounded by violence they are shown most times grieving for the loss of someone, with their hijab being a central focal point instead of a just another personal choice that they have made for themselves. ( some Muslim women opt not to wear hijab ). We don't see Muslim women portrayed as ordinary women in the Western world doing ordinary things. So i set out to de-exoticize Muslim women via this series of photographs i ultimately ended up taking with my phone.

We are not a Monolith. We can wear hijab we can not wear hijab. We are from different cultures and backgrounds. We speak different languages and eat different foods.

The Muslim world is vast.

When i got home to LA I kept meeting so many interesting Muslim women and girls that i kept taking photos calling on friends to introduce me to people and the series continued. Once again Artists, Students, Teachers, Dancers, Women shopping, hanging out and Entrepreneurs.

More on Tasneem's work: email: jesiustasneem@icloud.com. patreon here. Facebook. Soundcloud.

Photograph by Tasneem Nanji