A bit of designer silk as a symbol of clashing cultures

Charles Desmarais, San Francisco Chronicle, April 3, 2018

Even from the sidewalk, through the plate glass and deep inside Jenkins Johnson Gallery (464 Sutter St., S.F. www.jenkinsjohnsongallery.com), a pair of brightly colorful images may catch your eye. The exhibition “Spring Selections,” of which they are a part through May 12, is a nice enough showcase of gallery artists, but Wesaam Al-Badry’s photographs demand attention. Part of a new series called “Al Kouture,” they depict Muslim women in modified traditional garb. In this picture, the somber facial veil (niqab) is replaced by a gaudy Hermès scarf. The word “Liberty,” a fragment of the motto of the French Republic, and an image of Marianne, personification of French independence, alter a decorative motif into cultural critique.

— Charles Desmarais