Wednesday, 1 June 2011

'Buy Your Own Burka Barbie' Graphic Design Posters

Hey Guys
It's been a while since I've posted my work on here and being a person who likes things in chronological order I couldn't post recent works until I posted my old ones (I really should get a hold on things!) So I traced through my Flickr photostream to see what the last piece of work I posted on my blog and realized I haven't blogged these pieces.

Burkas, Barbies & Banning

'Buy Your Own Burka Barbie' was created for my A2 Graphic Design final piece 1 coursework for college (there are 2 final piece coursework modules.) I created these in January 2011 (photo was taken Nov 2010).

This piece was submitted for my Identity/Feminism project where I looked at aspects in my life, how I identify with them and my strong views & beliefs. I wanted to look into my Islamic roots (my grandparents are very religious), self-portraiture and what that meant to me. I had intended to just do a self-portrait (see below) but was lacking inspiration on how to go about it. I had submitted this as my first final piece until I realized I really didn't like it and had a typical general message that didn't really identify with me.
I was surfing the internet looking for inspiration and came across Shadi Ghadirian's 'Like Everyday' photo series which looks at the role of Islamic housewives in many Arab countries. Some may say this is stereotypical, I say it's realistic. So 'Like Everyday' and looking at burka Barbie dolls on inspired my final piece coursework. I do think Islamic women are oppressed especially in the Middle East (though this is just a generalisation, not all women!) and their voices are left unheard.

I decided to create these posters linking in with Barbie, a Westernized concept of beauty and the perfect woman; also Barbie represents global corporate branding. I wanted to look at how women in Islam, in particular housewives are seen as dolls in the sense that they are the 'property' of their husband and are told what to do without a say in the matter including sexual demands. I wanted to portray these themes in this poster with a stereotypical 50's Western housewife advertising style including the catchphrase 'I'm your Real Life Housewife!'. The tagline 'Available in all men's stores for only £1.99' meaning how cheap, easy & accessible it is to get a wife like 'me'.
Whilst creating this design (both posters took a whole weekend of work) I heavily airbrushed and 'Photoshopped' my face to make myself look 'doll-ish' but still human. I wanted the surface to be bright and colourful but with a sarcastic note to it, addressing heavy concepts with a flavour of dark humour. I didn't want to be too provocative, just enough skin showing to communicate my concepts clearly and of course the burka relating to Islam.
(FYI, no copyright infringement intended on Barbie!)

I had this work exhibited in one of my college's corridors and stayed there for a few days until it was suddenly taken down! At first I thought it was because the college was clearing the space for more work to be exhibited but was unusual that only my work was taken down and my friends work in my graphics class still remained on the walls. I lead myself to believe that the technicians got tired and hadn't gotten round to taken the other work down... but of course that wasn't the case! I had to enquire myself (unfortunately the college didn't have the decency to tell me themselves) why my work was taken down. It later came to my knowledge that my work was TOO CONTROVERSIAL!! The principal had apparently voiced concerned that it wasn't 'family friendly' and subsequently was taken down for open evening where all ages were welcomed to attend. At first that seemed shocking for the bad reasons that I couldn't exhibit my work any more, then I realized to some extent is a weird sort of compliment that my work was too controversial (meaning my message obviously came across!) and as a graphic designer is a good sign to cause such a reaction (I hadn't considered these posters to be controversial or using shock tactics as such until now). The only problem I had about this incident was that I wasn't notified (especially as my work was exhibited in an educational establishment, not a public place which is understandable) and the poorly explained reasons behind it. I think people should hear about these issues and if 16+ year olds are going to study at college should know what they're getting themselves into! (sorry for all this banter.. sometimes the blogging takes over me!)

Anyways... here are my posters! Tell me what you think!

I really liked the background typography and the effect of the texture so decided to make a typographic version with an outburst of bright colours. I also used the 'Barbie' logo font to make my posters more realistic. I particularly like the use of lens glare on this poster, it's such a handy tool to use in Photoshop! I think these posters look really effective A2 plus. When I printed it out on glossy on A2 size paper I was shocked looking at my own face! haha, Never seen it so big before!

Please note that I do not intend to hurt, target or upset anyone, only simply to communicate my views in an artistic form. I do not wish to spread hate or anger just bring to light issues in today's world. Hope you can respect that.


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