Munira Ahmed, a Bangladeshis American had a photo taken of her covered in an American flag hijab back in 2007.
Now, a decade later, the image has become a symbol of the Women’s Marches that took place across the globe, according to a report published in Mashable.
Ahmed, a 32-year-old New Yorker and Bangladeshi Muslim-American who has worked in digital media, told Mashable in a phone interview yesterday that it has been a “surreal” but “humbling” experience becoming one of the red-white-and-blue faces of Shepard Fairey’s inauguration posters.
The artist who created the iconic “Hope” poster for Barack Obama’s campaign released a series of posters in time for Inauguration Day last week and the Women’s Marches held the day after, says the report in Mashable.
The posters are part of a “We the People” campaign spearheaded by the nonprofit Amplifier Foundation.
“We can make an inauguration irrelevant.”
Fairey’s images show a diverse group of people resisting what they see as the hate, fear and racism connected with the new Trump administration. The posters were available to print for the Women’s March in Washington, DC, and beyond last Saturday, reports Mashable.
Ahmed, who made it down to DC for the march, saw posters of herself everywhere. “I needed to be there, it was important to me,” she said.
The picture is from a 2007 photoshoot for the cover of Muslim-American magazine Illume by photographer Ridwan Adhami, says the report in Mashable.
Ahmed heard that Fairey even received a call from Obama praising the work, which Ahmed was thrilled to hear. Separately, through a connection, Ahmed was able to speak with Fairey on the phone, telling him that she was appreciative of his illustration and felt it did justice to the original photograph, according to the report.
Fairey and other artists also raised money through a kickstarter campaign to print the images in national newspapers. Ahmed said seeing her likeness in publications like the Washington Post made the experience even more special. She went to various vendors on Inauguration Day searching for copies of the paper, but found they were sold out everywhere.
Ahmed, who does not herself cover, said most people didn’t recognise her as the woman in the poster, but while in DC she went up to some women carrying the poster and asked to take their photos.
“Some of the bravest Americans that are not soldiers in combat are Muslim women wearing a hijab,” Ahmed said.
She said she has seen photos of women and girls carrying her poster from as far as Berlin, Buenos Aires, and Kenya — and of course all across the United States, says the report in Mashable.
She thinks her poster resonates because it shows her as a Muslim and an American. “You can proudly be both,” she said. Plus, she thinks the text at the bottom of the poster is beyond powerful for women, Muslims and any marginalised group: “Greater than fear.”
“We are so strong in numbers,” she said. “We can make an inauguration irrelevant.”