This pattern challenges negative stereotypes that Westerners have of Muslims. Encouraged by the media, the Middle East is often portrayed alongside religion and conflict, rather than that of peace and culture. As the eyes move from the centre outwards to the final layers, the mind expands to see a different representation of this misunderstood region.
This pattern begins in the middle, focusing on the aspects that are commonly thought of – the veil, the five pillars of Islam, bullets, and mosques. The prayer beads start to challenge the narrow mind, as they feature in other religions as well as Islam. The next layer states ‘I choose to wear the veil’ as some women do, and the space left here gives the viewer time to reflect on this.
Zakat, one of the five pillars of Islam, is where Muslims are required to give a percentage of their income to the poor and needy. This is shown by the ‘Z’ for Zakat, and the Saudi riyal coin also acts as a pie chart for the income. The books demonstrate the Islamic Golden Age, where knowledge in philosophy and science was shared and developed to help progress society.
The next two layers contrast tradition with modernity - Neolithic rock inscriptions and the Kingdom skyscraper in Riyadh. Trade brings people together, and the Middle East trade electrical appliances. Here, the washing machines and people show that society is being brought together by this.
The next layer celebrates culture, and features shisha and berber rugs. The aeroplanes and McDonalds logo demonstrates that Middle Eastern countries have their own airlines and fast food chains, thus they are modernised. Finally, the last layer shows the damask rose, and has a circle of shisha glass.
The viewer can therefore see themselves reflected in the piece - we are all the same, we are all human.