Princess Hijab has become one of Paris’s most controversial and hard to identify street artists. She is Paris’s answer to British guerrilla graffiti artist Banksy, though in many ways she is more controversial. Princess Hijab chooses to focus on one major issue in the French capital and it’s a hot potato; immigration and the Niqab. In case you haven’ been paying attention to the news coming out of France lately the Hijab, Niqab, and Burqa have become hot button issues in the resolutely secular republic and have ignited a firestorm over immigration, women’s rights, islamophobia and civil liberties. Last month the government approved the so called “burqa ban” which means that starting in the new year women will be banned from wearing any full-face Muslim veils in public, not just in government offices but anywhere outside of their own homes. The government argues that the ban it its way of protecting women’s rights and making it impossible for Muslim women to be forced by men to cover their faces.
This makes Princess Hijab’s particular bent of graffiti art all the more subversive in the French capital as her signature is painting the veil onto fashion advertisements. It isn’t just the advertisements that feature women who are being niqabed. Princess Hijab also gives the veil to men as well. The first graffiti veil to appear was a niqab painted onto a poster for an album cover of one of France’s most famous female rappers, Diam. In an interesting turn of events said rapper has actually turned to Islam and is now wearing the veil herself.
The Identity of Princess Hijab remains a mystery and while she did recently grant an interview to the Guardian, the report was inconclusive about her identity.
At the moment Princess Hijab is only hitting about four or five advertisements per year that tend to last only about 45 minutes before being ripped down by Paris Metro officials but each of her interventions is carefully photographed and most of them circulate online. Whether you agree with the “burqa ban” or not Princes Hijab is certainly trying to make you think about it.
Over a period of three years, the stencil artist Peter Gibson, aka Roadsworth, made his mark on Montreal in the early hours of the morning by launching a self-described “attack on the streets.” Armed with spray paint and handmade stencils, he began to play with the language of the streets, overlaying city asphalt markings with his own images: a crosswalk became a giant boot print, vines choked up traffic dividers, and electrical plugs filled parking spots. Each piece begged the question, Who owns public space?
The lot at the corner of Rue Saint Philippe and Rue Notre Dame spends most of the year as a ‘sort of’ green space that people mostly just cut across when they are heading to and from the Metro and Rue Saint Philippe. Every so often though one of the resident artists finds a way to turn it into an impromptu art space. One of these installations was a vast collection of mittens in various states of attention, most straight up, some on their way to the ground and some already there.
The mittens were of varying shape colour and size, most likely found in a bargain bin maybe or a lost and found? Whatever their origin they were a great addition to the neighbourhood before time and destructive individuals removed them.
*If you are the artist responsible for the mitten field please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org so we can give you your due!
Street art isn’t a new phenomenon, graffiti art has been around for centuries, and street artists like Banksy, transition from street artist to fine art and back. The Toronto Sun has a great little slide show of artist Sandrine Estrade Boulet’s public art works that range from irreverent to cute to naughty. Her works embrace their surroundings and incorporate physical features in the environment. Her Cheerleader stencil makes use of a pair of grass tufts peeking through the side walk, while a pile of garbage bags forms a cheering section along the side of the road. Its fun and ironic and a pleasure to look at.
Graffiti with a turn of phrase about the time factor involved with beards. Seen painted on the Jersey barrier on the edge of the parking lot next to the St Henri Metro station in Montreal.
A street artist in Seoul leaves an impromptu installation on the side of an alley in Seoul. Photo by Nathan Hudon
Graffiti found on the streets of Seoul.
The roof of the building a little further down the street has been tagged and the Graffiti has some good advice… ‘Think Big Thoughts’
Mermaids appear on the sidewalks of Toronto.