In 1928 a British tobacco company issued a set of miniature trading cards called National Types of Beauty. This set consists of 36 black and white portraits of women who according to the British eye exemplify the beauty of the named country. On the back of each card the women are described according to their facial appearance, their colouring, their class, their level of education, and whom they belong to. What struck me about the descriptions were the way the women merely existed as a classified specimen described and depicted according to colonial desires of the era. In response, I have reworked the original archive in order to ‘rehabilitate’ the portraits. In my reinvention each of the ‘beauties’ wears my Arabic eyes. This act for me is simple. It undoes the colonial gaze and the attempt to categorise race and women. 

 

 

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