The nixing of definitions and the blurring of sexual, gender, political and social identities that have been at the forefront of the public discourse in recent times have led designer Shady Francis Majlaton to seek his own self-definition. While many identities have disappeared, the only identity that has remained fully intact is his identity as an Arab. He has embraced his roots, the culture and the history connected to this identity, and it has become a central component of his personality.
In Israel of 2021, the subject of Arab identity has gotten increasingly charged. While some Arab cultural characteristics have been adopted by Israelis and lauded as “authentic,” others have been framed as dangerous characteristics that symbolize absolute evil – the terrorist Arab – and are thereby erased by society.
While the Arab culture that has been adopted by the West became acceptable, the authentic Arab culture – which was a source of pride until recently – has become for many a symbol of primitivity or a threat that ought to be hidden from sight. Majlaton believes that his culture is slowly disappearing, turning him into a censored Arab.
Censored Arab presents the so-called allowed and accepted Arab identity, while censoring out the forbidden aspects of it in the traditional Palestinian Arab garments that Majlaton presents, showing only what would be acceptable to Israeli society.
Shady Francis Majlaton