2010, 2023, performance
The black abbaya shown here stands for the cultural history and historical-social development of women’s clothing in Yemen. The abbaya, worn by Islamic Yemenites, has no religious significance, and serves as secular clothing still today. The abbaya was introduced in 1920 under Ottoman rule by the court women of the Turkish governor in Sana’a, the capital of Yemen. By wearing the abbaya, they marked their privileged social status. Later, the abbaya spread as a uniform. It is worn together with a veil and a headscarf, as well as gloves, and serves the purpose of concealment and anonymity. The performance confronts the visitors with their prejudices about the role of women in Islam. The first performance where a person wore the Abbaya was 2010 at Neuer Berliner Kunstverein.