By Sharifah Alhinai
In her latest video-recorded performance piece, Emirati multidisciplinary artist Maitha Hamdan is captured licking a vanilla ice cream cone from behind a long pink veil that drapes her entire body, including her face, while a jingle that is used by ice cream trucks is played. The process of devouring the ice cream through the veil is a bewildering act to see, but that is exactly its intention.
Titled Precautions, the work tackles ‘mainstream social norms and the boundaries of a simple act like eating an ice cream, and its effect on women’s behaviour amidst males,’ the 29-year-old artist explains. The devourment of the ice cream – an act considered, in the eyes of some, lascivious when made by women – is a way of ‘restaging gendered norms, repeated, reinforced and remediated as a radical, satirical and pictorial performance,’ reads the curatorial statement accompanying the work.The performance piece was inspired by memories of an ice cream shop that Hamdan and many girls of her age group used to visit as children in Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
This feature article is part of The Womanhood Issue. To read this article digitally click here to buy a digital copy of the issue. To read the entirety of this article in print, click here or here to order a print copy of the issue.
The views of the authors and writers who contribute to Sekka, and the views of the interviewees who are featured in Sekka, do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sekka, its parent company, its owners, employees and affiliates.