Online Exclusive: New exhibit ponders role of clothing in Muslim societies

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An enlightening exhibition that has been traveling the world opened this month at the University of Calgary.

"Dress codes and modes--Women's Dress in some Muslim Countries and Communities" is set up in the main gallery in the faculty of environmental design. The cultural exposé was created by Women Living Under Muslim Laws, an international organization working for gender equality and social justice whose members span 70 countries. The exhibit features hundreds of colourful paintings, drawings, and photos over 20 large panels, actual garments, a dvd and a variety of explanatory text and quotes.

"[The display] has been responded to very positively," said Catherine Hamel, an assistant professor and manager of the evds gallery.

The exhibition looks at women's clothing in the context of several Muslim countries and communities, including Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Northern Nigeria, South Asia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It provides a snapshot of the range of diversity and commonalities from past to present, rejecting the idea of a singular Muslim uniform, noted Hamel.

"The word veil doesn't even have a universal meaning," reads one introductory panel in the gallery. "Clearly it is a myth that the Muslim world is one homogeneous whole."

There is a reception Thurs., Sept. 28, 5:30–7:30 p.m.. According to Hamel, it is a social occasion to talk about the exhibit and an opportunity to see it for those who can't make the regular hours.

To visit the display, head on up to the EVDS gallery in Professional Faculties Block A, room 2145 from 8:30a.m.-4:30p.m.