The Art of Debate: Do Head Coverings Oppress or Empower Women?

​​​​Last year, Toronto’s Zunera Ishaq made national headlines when she defended her right to take Canada’s Oath of Citizenship wearing a niqab. While the media was abuzz with the issue, any dialogue it sparked quickly faded.

Yet the broader concerns that niqab, hijab, and chador are symbols of female oppression and patriarchy still remain. In what ways do head coverings oppress and empower women?

Chador is more than a Persian word for sheet, veil, or covering. For many, it is a symbol of inequality and discrimination against women. Parth's art explores this symbolism while provoking— and even fuelling—the niqab, hijab, and chador debate.

Parth Upadhye, Artist

It is a question that continues to challenge Canadians, and forms the backdrop against which Riverdale Hub Gallery will premiere Chador: Unveiling Myths, Parth Upadhye’s highly anticipated art series.

Chador is more than a Persian word for sheet, veil, or covering. For many, it is a symbol of inequality and discrimination against women. Parth’s art explores this symbolism while provoking— and even fuelling—the niqab, hijab, and chador debate.

​Parth Upadhye is a Toronto based artist that combines contemporary and classical myths to highlight the role of patriarchy in all things chador. His art exhibit spurs a necessary dialogue about an increasingly relevant topic, and even includes a digital platform that visitors can use to anonymously speak their minds.

Anyone will be able to visit the forum and participate in moderated discussions without having to provide personal information. Parth hopes that this safe space will encourage an honest and open dialogue about the controversial topic.

“I want my work to simply sow the seeds for change through conversation, and any kind of change stems from awareness” says Parth.  His artwork—essentially a dialogue about cross-cultural patriarchy and feminism—will be displayed on June 2nd-25th at Toronto’s Riverdale Hub Gallery.

The Riverdale Hub Gallery is dedicated to employing the transformative power of art to engage the community in dialogue. Located within a community center in the heart of Little India at 1326 Gerrard St. E., The Riverdale Hub is a transformative space and green working environment informed by the values of diversity, sustainability, and equality. The hub also houses the Riverdale Immigrant Women’s Centre, a social service organization that’s been supporting immigrant women in Toronto for over thirty years.

Source: Parth Upadhye

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Categories: A&E News, Visual Arts, Painting, Agents and Representation

Tags: art, chador, controversy, debate, exhibit, myhs, niqab


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About Parth Upadhye

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"The verbs inquire and reinvent capture the essence of what I do.", says Parth Upadhye, a Toronto based artist. "I want my work to not only become objects of interpretation but also encourage exchange of narratives."

Parth Upadhye
Toronto, Ontario
Canada