Women in Black

Publisher:
BBC
Publication Type:
Exhibition
Citation:
Documentary Series on BBC 2
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Women in Black is a an animated title sequence for a BBC 2 documentary series which explores the role of the `Abaya or veil in contemporary Muslim societies. I was commissioned to produce a 30 second animation illustrating the journey of UK born, Yemeni presenter Amani Zain as she travelled the world investigating customs and traditions relating to Islamic dress codes for women. This hand drawn digital animation piece emerged from my commercial animation practice at Picasso Pictures in London, and focused on the use of animated transformations to create a constantly moving tableau. The use of metamorphosis has a long history in drawn animation, exploiting the `frame by frame nature of the drawn sequences, a process that allows for considerable latitude in visual continuity. The design research process for this piece was driven by the content of the documentaries, with their portrayal of ordinary womens lives in Muslim countries. This material was rich in detail and subtle difference and allowed me to develop a number of linked visual themes through the sequence. This project contributes to research around animation as an appropriate medium for discussing complex social issues. Recent animations such as `Dance with Bashir and `Persepolis have applied a new perspective to Middle Eastern documentary subjects, drawing new audiences into debates around history and culture. The significance of this research is that it furthers discussion around cultural identity and choice for women in Islamic societies. The title sequence animation was the first point of entry to the documentary series, as such it had to both encapsulate ideas and engage the audience, representing the key themes of identity and diversity for women in Islamic societies.
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