Prince Politique: Challenging The Middle East’s Establishment
For the people, by the people
Sarah Ben Romdane
“As minorities everything we experience is political, and so Arab art always has a political dimension. Prince Politique is a message of hope for the people of the Middle East, South Asia and Africa”, says 22 year-old designer Yasmine Badran.
The young Lebanese artist—who also has Saudi roots—grew up in Dubai, until she moved to Ottawa to pursue studies in Politics and Law. “When I feel electric, I party in Montreal and when the sun starts to rise after the party, I take photos of my dreams so I can slowly fall asleep in Beirut”, she says as a loose definition of who she is.
Yasmine’s love of art comes from the pain and solitude she felt whilst living far away from home and her loved ones. “I had to let it all out, because I couldn’t express myself through a cellphone anymore”.
Her friend Haya came into her life like a “blessing” she says. Before Yasmine returned to Riyadh, Haya gave her her mother’s old camera (from the early 90’s) and that’s how Yasmine started exploring photography and fashion. “I love the way fashion makes me feel. It’s so cool being able to feel confident through clothes and the way you look. I love making someone feel confident through a picture I took of him or her”, she says.
Yasmine has a bold but simple aim: to see marginalized people reclaim their rights and feel proud about their identity.
At university, she began researching Benazir Bhutto, former Prime Minister of Pakistan, and the first woman to lead a Muslim country. She decided to redesign an image of her and print it on to a jacket a year ago. Since then, it’s become an iconic piece that she has been wearing every single day – “because it made me feel peaceful and empowered”, she says. “She’s the superstar of democracy. She’s an inspiration, and a role model. The Arab world still has barriers discriminating women that I can’t accept. That’s why I’m doing Prince Politique”.