Chic Point

I was particularly intrigued by artist Sharif Waked’s seven minute video piece titled “Chic Point: Fashion for Israeli Checkpoints” after learning more about Israeli checkpoints for Palestinians. By re-situating the degrading and extensive searches for potential explosives that Palestinians undergo as they move through the multiple checkpoints within Israel as an “occupied catwalk”, Waked is able to satirize and call attention to the treatment of Palestinians. Although I was only able to find a 30 second clip of the seven minute video, the fashions displayed in the clip brings much needed attention to the Israeli treatment of Palestinians. The fashion displayed in Chic Point focuses primarily on exposing the top of the body that is most commonly searched for potential explosives. For example, one item of fashion displayed shows a removable flap on the front of a shirt that exposes the entire torso with one pull. Another features a shirt that has a circular hole on the abdomen exposing the model’s stomach. This video also demonstrates how the Palestinian body is viewed as a “security threat” and potential weapon through it’s fashion that exposes the Palestinian body and makes it in turn vulnerable. What I liked most about Waked’s work is that it repositions the Palestinian body being degraded through strip searches and turns it into a catwalk of pride while maintaining the element of vulnerability through the fashion’s exposure of the model’s bodies. Instead of viewing Palestinians as victims of “military inspection”, Waked focuses on the desirability of the body and the subtext of homoerotic desire on the part of the Israeli soldiers carrying out these extensive and humiliating strip searches. Thus, his work is able to call attention a serious topic in a more lighthearted manner that could potentially generate change through the exposure his piece gives to the conditions of Israeli check points.

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One thought on “Chic Point

  1. I think the video shown in class was very helpful in picturing the conditions these people have to endure. It is one thing to read about it but to visually see and hear interviews from some Palestinians really puts the reading into perspective. Thanks!

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