One of Us

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts


Fine Arts

First Advisor

Justin James Reed

Second Advisor

John D Freyer

Third Advisor

Christina O Lindholm


With this thesis, I reflect on my identity as a Saudi American. I look at how nonverbal communication through gesture and artifact presents the potential for both communication breakdowns, as well as shared understanding. From the lens of Saudi culture, I consider how gender relations and intra-national tribal factions play a role in the division of society, which my work seeks to overcome, at both the national and global levels. My exhibit, One of Us, interrogates one of the most controversial gestures in contemporary society: veiling. As I discuss the notion of camouflage, I review the types of veils available to women, and the reasons why women veil. The abayas featured in my exhibit are constructed from nostalgic patterns, thus producing in the viewer a simultaneous feeling of familiarity and novelty, and in the wearer, of blending in and standing out.


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Date of Submission