Look Beyond

Whoever posted these up on the Woolstores building in Fremantle, you made my Thursday (?I think it was). I love you.

A brick wall covered in graffiti, wheat pastes and various forms of street art. There is a horizontal strip of A4 sized, screen printed images running along the wall for approximately 20 metres. The images show a woman's eyes looking out from what appears to be a niqab. Underneath the image are the words Look Beyond. The colours of the images alternate between blue, aqua, black, pink and orange.

On Thursday, as I was walking to the train station on my way to work, I glanced over at the Woolstores building to check out how the CityScape Wheat Paste was doing and did a double take. A freshly posted, brightly coloured banner of images running along the Woolstores building lit up my morning doom and gloom fest.

Image shows a brick wall and a portion of a window frame. There is a horizontal strip of A4 sized, screen printed images running along the wall for approximately 2 metres. The images show a woman's eyes looking out from what appears to be a Niqab. Underneath the image are the words Look Beyond. The colours of the images alternate between black, orange, pink, blue and aqua.

I didn’t get to take a closer look at the time ‘cause I was hurrying for the train but my heart gave a little shout of joy and I may have muttered a ‘Fuck Yeah!’. From the distance I was viewing the posters I assumed they were coloured photocopies put up by an organisation to push-back against Islamophobia. When I got to a Wi-Fi area (sad I know but can’t afford an iPhone) I madly googled ‘Look Beyond’ but nothing specific came up except this YouTube video about Asylum Seekers in the UK which, apart from the philosophy of ‘look beyond the label’, I didn’t think was relevant to these images (I see the woman in the image as Muslim and not all Asylum Seekers to Australia are Muslim).

I read the posters as a specific comment on cultural constructions of Muslims and Islam by the mainstream media and government which position Muslims as an ‘Other’ and create an atmosphere of ‘us’ and ‘them’ which is soaked up and regurgitated by the general population; the image (to me) says ‘look beyond’ those simplistic binaries.

A close up picture of an A4 sized, screen printed image of a woman's eyes looking out from what appears to be a Niqab. The words Look Beyond appear underneath the image.

Today I went down to the Woolstores with a mate and checked the images out up close and realised they’re actually individually made, screen-printed images (I know NOTHING about art and how it’s made though, so take that with a grain of scepticism…). Anyway whether they’re photocopies, screen-prints or stencils, they’re great.

What do you see? 

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