"Luther og de andre"

October 17 I participated in a seminar about Martin Luther, the reformation and the topic of otherness. I spoke about own experiences of being perceived as "the other" in the Norwegian society. I tried to reflect on the relationship between majorities and minorities in Norway, how muslims are being perceived as "the others", and how we can work against this concept.  

Information in Norwegian: http://www.kirkeakademiene.no/luther-og-de-andre-2/



"Resistance", Acrylic on canvas, 50x60cm, 2017

"Resistance", Acrylic on canvas, 50x60cm, 2017

«Resistance» consists of paintings that are suppose to bring awareness to the topic of freedom of speech. The paintings are painted as stencil portraits of world known freedom fighters, on a messy background, with a large black stroke over the face.

When I was in Bahrain during new year 2016/2017 I knew that there was conflict between the regime and the people. People have been imprisoned and killed for their utterance. There are apparently not many signs of this conflict, other than the brick walls filed with spray paint. In every alley there are stencil portraits behind large, black paint strokes. However, the strokes are small enough to reveal the identity of the portrait. This shows a hopeless conflict, where the visual expression becomes more valuable than anything else.

The portraits in the streets of Bahrain, show people that have been imprisoned, kidnapped, tortured or killed by the regime. The portraits are painted anonymously by locals and do not stay long on the wall without the authorities painting over it. The sensational is that there are clearly no attempts of removing the portraits, only marking it as something illegal. At the same time as the strokes gives a message that the portraits are unwanted, the message behind the portraits gets even stronger. The portraits, partly covered with painting strokes in the streets of Bahrain, becomes important visual elements, and symbols of the fight for justice. 

«Resistance» is a series that together visualizes the reality of a country. I used the portraits of Malala Yousafzai, Nelson Mandela, Malcolm X and Mahatma Ghandi, to illustrate the situation in Bahrain in a realistic way. These are personalities we all know as freedom fighters, these are the personalities we see in the streets of Bahrain. I use these paintings to create awareness about freedom of speech and the importance of visual expression as a powerful weapon.

- Amina Sahan

Photo of graffiti. Manama, Bahrain 2017.

Photo of graffiti. Manama, Bahrain 2017.

New America

"New America", Acrylic on canvas, 100x100cm, 2017

"New America", Acrylic on canvas, 100x100cm, 2017

I have put together familiar elements such as the American flag and famous faces, and created something that I have a particular meaning behind. This painting is inspired by the recent impulses in our world. Its a visualization of my social media infected thoughts.

Thoughts about the American presidential election, multiculturalism, islamophobia and womens position. The painting shows two of the world most famous couple, that I have been exposed to continuously on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are being looked up to as royalty and as a symbol of what it is to be a wealthy independent man and woman. I have always wondered why Kim Kardashian seems to be this ideal figure of a woman in social media, and that through the photos of her walking in high heels, almost naked and with her head held high, we get the feeling that she is somehow superior.

I can’t help but wondering what we would think about a woman of her position, in an hijab, walking besides her husband. Would she still be that independent and strong woman? Would they still be a power couple? I felt the urge to paint Kim Kardashian with a hijab to experiment with our perception of women. There are many misconceptions about women wearing hijab, and a lot are about being oppressed. Could we ever accept a free, strong and powerful woman wearing hijab, or are the possibilities of that measured by the amount of skin she shows.

In relation to this topic, we have witnessed a change in America. Trump became president og Kanye West announced that he will run for president in 2020. It seems like a lot can be possible these days, but with the anti-racial/religious/cultural climate it also seems like nothing is possible. Could you ever imagine a first lady wearing a hijab?

These are all questions I have thought about and would like for people to reflect on when they see this painting. Even though I am not American or even live in America, I feel the impact of America everywhere. What concerns America, concerns us all. This is a painting full of questions about and criticism of the world we live in today.

- Amina Sahan

Master thesis 2016

Spring 2016 i finished my Master´s Program in Visual and Performing Arts: Art and Design Education.

"How does youth from the multicultural Holmlia interpret and perceive visual expressions with focus on drawing and painting? With references to visual culture, globalization of art history and multiculturalism, I try to strengthen the meaningful aspects of the research question. Previous research on ethnical and religious minorities ́ relation to arts subjects, and my own experiences as an artist with Norwegian/Iraqi background in meeting with the Norwegian arena of arts, have contributed to my interest in this subject." (Amina Sahan, 2016)

Read the thesis here (norwegian language).

In referance to the master thesis, I made an artwork for the exhibition "Ad Astra" in April 2016 at Oslo University Collage.The artwork is illustrating what the interview objects had to say about my paintings without knowing that they were mine. I put copies of my paintings on a wall and wrote quotes directly to the wall with black acrylic paint.