Sunday 28 May 2017

The viral image of Saffiyah Khan standing up to the EDL has inspired some amazing art

By Prudence Wade

The powerful image has proved inspirational for many artists.

Life imitates art, but in some cases art imitates life. This is true for the viral photo of Saffiyah Khan standing up to a member of the EDL, an image that has sparked a whole host of artistic interpretations.

First of all, here is the powerful original image.

Samira Idroos decided to draw Khan because she was an antidote to the hate and ignorance in the world: “She really showed her power by just smiling. To smile in the face of adversity is not easy.”

Idroos said: “It was a breath of fresh air to see a brown, Muslim woman acting in such an exemplary, revolutionary display of strength and character.”

Christina Tsevis was similarly inspired by Khan in her drawing.

“To see a young girl stand tall, proud and fearless when faced with injustice is such a strong and inspiring message to everyone, and especially us women,” she said. “It serves as a reminder that we truly are as strong as we feel.”

Artist Arkaitz Gonzalex said: “I drew this because her smile against that hate inspired me. We need less people like him and more people like her.”

Meaghan Elderkin draws pictures of inspiring women on napkins for her children, so it was a no-brainer to choose Khan as her next subject.

“The example of women standing up for each other is so powerful I felt compelled to draw it,” Elderkin said. “It’s the kind of display of feminism that I want my daughters to see.”

Ines Robin simply captioned her picture of Khan: “Portrait of a Modern Hero.”

Portrait of a Modern Hero #speedpaint …

Portrait of a Modern Hero #speedpaint #saffiyahkhan

Jordi Calvis’s interpretation of the image also features Tess Asplund, the Swedish activist who went viral after she was photographed facing members of the Swedish Nordic Resistance Movement with her fist in the air.

The picture of Khan smiling at EDL leader Ian Crossland took place at an EDL rally in Birmingham at the weekend. Khan has said she kept calm throughout the confrontation, even when Crossland was putting his finger in her face.

It was taken by Press Association photographer Joe Giddens, who was taken aback by how instantly popular it became.

It’s a powerful photograph making such an important statement, so we’re not at all surprised that so many artists have been inspired by it.

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