Victoria and Albert Museum

The world’s greatest museum of art and design

Opening times

10.00 to 17.45 daily
10.00 to 22.00 Fridays

Just Because - Infinate Feminity

Just Because - Infinate Feminity

My brief was set by my university tutor over the summer period, and was to shine a light upon an unknown group within the community that is making a difference.
In Shrewsbury, their is a group of women who perform, practice and enjoy weekly belly-dancing classes, that are carried out to fuel their passion for the middle eastern culture but also to give back and form an interaction, to the cultural home of the dance. 'Just Because' is a charity that provides breast screening to Egyptian women, as this feminine necessity is not a part of the national health system within Egypt. These women within Shrewsbury raise money for the charity whilst also putting on shows and many of the women use the practice to help define their feminity.
My main focus of the project was to illustrate ideas of feminity, giving, the culture and this cycle between the women in Shrewsbury and Egypt. I decided to use symbols motifs based around the central issues of feminity, the process of charity, the cultures and the cycle.
I used the rose and lotus wreath to show the integration of both lifestyles, united through belly-dancing, the rose being the national flower of Britain and the lotus being the national flower of Egypt. The circle arrangement of these flowers are used to demonstrate feminity, the idea of the womanly cycle created between the culture, and the women of both countries through providing under priveleged women with the necessary breast screening facilities. It also respresents belly-dancing itself through the circular arrangement the women take when performing these traditional dances. Similarly, these hands and the inverted arms were used to represent the dances themselves, a key part of belly-dancing being the movement of the hands and arms. Moreover, the hands and arms are used to show the two cultures reaching out to one another, and each seeking guidance in quite contrasting ways. Also, the hands are a key symbol of North African and Middle Eastern culture. The hamsa hand is an object believed represent a variety of holy women across all religions (e.g in Islam known as the hand of Fatima, the daughter of Muhammed) and also the hand is seen to be a symbol of protection, in relation to how the 'Just Because' charity helps protect Egyptian women from the potential threat of breast cancer. The central infinity symbol, decorated in a traditonal geometric Egyptian pattern, was used to illustrate the breast screenings provided by the charity, through the shape of the bosom and the infinite legacy of the bellydancing culture and womanhood.

Just Because - Infinate Feminity