Ola Fairag

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



First Advisor

Nathan Heuer, M.F.A.

Second Advisor

Susan Palmisano, M.F.A.

Third Advisor

Sean Derry, M.F.A.


In the exhibition, A Critical Insight Into the Awakening, images of architectural elements are employed with Islamic ornaments that is found in mosques including arches, chandeliers, and mihrabs (a niche in the wall facing toward mecca for the direction of prayer), as a means of critiquing the Awakening in Saudi Arabia. The screen-printed impressions of these elements are not perfectly aligned, and often produce doubled or fragmentary images. These elements represent a society where some Awakening authorities issue rules and orders through cassette tapes, lectures, and other means.

The Awakening, which emerged in the 1980’s was a fundamentalist movement within Islam that changed the political landscape where Saudi women found themselves suddenly unable to participate in aspects of society in which they were previously included, and they often felt targeted by the Awakening. Many obstacles have been put in women’s way to discourage their empowerment. While the conflicts associated with the Awakening are not limited to women’s issues, the lack of support shown to women has, without a doubt, stagnated the development of Saudi Arabia as a modern nation. It is my contention that this problem began with the spread of restrictive ideologies concerning women via mass media. Therefore, the video of women wearing Abaya (a black dress covers all women body) in the exhibition shows the word were used to limited women actions in the society.

The writer Omer Albadawi writes in the Al- Arab Daily Newspaper “that the Awakening left profound psychological and behavioral effects on society that cannot be easily erased, strongly affecting an entire generation” (Albadawi).Bottom of Form

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