As many will know, the word ‘Malika’ means Queen in Arabic. It was in common parlance when women were referred to as ’queens’ but what did that mean in reality? They were basically refused basic rights which so many women living in today take for granted.
The word Malika came to represent restriction. It is all very well being revered, adored and set upon a pedestal. But when life consists of remaining in one place with little opportunity to be free what kind of life is it exactly asks artist Anan Al-Olayan?
Al-Olayan has taken the word Malika and offered a contemporary twist. She has offered another definition through a series of works celebrating Saudi Arabian women in all their complexity. Al-Olayan refuses to be bowed by the condescending notion ‘Malika’ has represented through history.
The character of Malika is important, as Al-Olayan believes she has power. She also has regal qualities in as much as Malika is in control of her own territory, her thoughts, her own intimate space, her body and imagination.
Malika rules her own land and wears her crown proudly. No matter what stereotype is imposed she is something very different. Perhaps the world can only see her eyes; but eyes are a window into the soul. They represent a passageway into a powerful realm within. Through her eyes you will see Malika is strong, determined and optimistic but most importantly true to her beliefs.