© 2016 by Sobia Ahmad

Turning Tables - a photo project

Sexualized depictions of Eastern women in orientalist paintings and experiences of being called “exotic” by western men served as an inspiration for these photos. In a culture that glorifies thin white women, calling a woman of color “exotic” only serves to “other” us. In that light, “exotic” ceases to be a compliment; it is a ploy to tell us that white is “normal.” Reversed roles - a powerful eastern woman and a sexualized and vulnerable western man - is a response to a world that has not only, for centuries, normalized “whiteness,” but has also unjustly portrayed the existence of the colored woman as that of an exotic sexual commodity. 

These photos have been displayed in shows in Washington D.C., Maryland, Colorado, and London, UK.