Noor Al-Mosawi wages beauty with self-portrait series

Canadian Muslim visual artist Noor Al-Mosawi has created a captivating series of self-portraits based on Mark Gonzales’ new book In Times of Terror, Wage Beauty. A freelance wedding photographer, Al-Mosawi wanted to return to her passion for visual narrative. She started with a project entitled Beyond A Label, a series of portraits with the goal of featuring strong hijabi Muslim women.

Working on that series sparked her to look inward. As she writes,

I recently arrived at the realization that I was neglecting one important story: my own. Largely rooted in a lack of self-worth and self-care, I realized I had spent so much time focusing on other narratives without genuinely exploring my own. Whether in regards to my life as a visibly Muslim woman, my place in society as a daughter of Iraqi immigrants to Canada, or the emotionally abusive relationship that I recently walked away from, I had a lot of emotional unpacking and storytelling to explore.

Her self-portrait series pairs her images with quotes from Gonzales’ book. The project has been therapeutic, allowing her to heal and and grow:

[P]airing each [self-portrait] with a quote from Wage Beauty has helped me to not only better explore the emotions that I have been processing, but has also allowed me to connect to a larger narrative of overcoming struggle, gaining and maintaining self-worth and striving to create a reality that works to build and elevate the human spirit.

Image: @thenoorphotography

Wage Beauty is a social philosophy that began as phrase coined by author Mark Gonzales. It’s no surprise that the book inspired and reinforced Al-Mosawi’s artistic journey towards self-healing. The book is a series of short stories with the central message that we have to heal ourselves before we can try to improve the world.

View Noor Al-Mosawi’s self-portrait series here.

Image: thenoorphotography — July Self-Portrait no.4. July, 2015.

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