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The Royal Festival Hall at London’s South Bank will be hosting London Veil – a photographic series by Sara Shamsavari, which will be held between Friday the 8th and Sunday the 10th of March as part of the WOW festival – the annual global festival celebrating women’s achievements across the world.

A truly original body of work, London Veil portrays a vivid sense of realism. The images are extraordinary because the reality presented to us is positive, and not a reality that is ‘mundane’ as one would normally expect reality to be. Life, color and strength are proudly worn by the young women captured by Shamsavari’s lens – ranging from subtle to wild in their expressions, they are all equally captivating.

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The series in many ways challenges our perceptions of how a veiled woman might dress and introduces us to these young women, who through their iconic presentation of the veil are empowered, paying homage to individual expression and celebrating it. Shaping a future where faith and freedom can co-exist in harmony.

Shamsavari gives us the opportunity to view the hijab in a positive light. During a time where there is a lot of cynicism and doubt surrounding the head dress, in Shamsavari’s words ‘London Veil both illustrates and is inspired by the influence of our perceived restrictions, limitations and challenges. Those forces encourage originality, adaptation and in turn transform cultural expression into an object of beauty.’

Through her work she is continuously re-defining how we see the world around us, note how the young women in the series do not at all look the same though they share the same faith, as each has embraced her headdress and worn it in a way special to her. There is something almost iconic about these women; they are all united in their expression of creativity, though it’s unlikely they know each other personally.

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Shamsavari very much views her work as a tool, ‘not to dissect or examine people, but to celebrate and empower’, placing her work at the forefront when it comes to art as a response to socio-political issues. Issues, which she addresses by seeking to encourage the ideals of non-judgment, equality, unity in diversity, collective responsibility and by endeavoring to make a significant difference to human understanding.

Shamsavari will be speaking about the series in the form of a WOW ‘bite’ (short inspirational talk) entitled Challenge, Creativity & Change at St Paul’s Roof Pavillion, Royal Festival Hall at 1.30pm on Friday 8th of March.

Sara Shamsavari | LONDON VEIL
Royal Festival Hall
London’s South Bank
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All images ©Sara Shamsavari
Words by Nada Dahab

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London Veil, Nada Dahab, Royal Festival Hall, Sara Shamsavari,