Jaishri Abichandani
Mother of All Believers: Samira Jassim

Burger Collection
2010
The act of creating family or, more specifically, mothering family, and all of the inherent complexities that particular relationship connotes, is complicated in a piece like Mother of All Believers: Samira Jassim (2010). This honorific title, "Umm al-Mumineen" in Arabic, is heavy with religious significance, most commonly indexing Aisha, one of the wives of the Prophet and a key (and contentious) woman in the history of Islam. By appropriating this honorific, Samira Ahmed Jassim, the Iraqi woman depicted in Mother of All Believers, conjures up mythologies of mothering large populations of people in strife. She styles herself as the strong maternal rock who will provide the solace and determination to move on, even in her absence. Samira Ahmed Jassim used this honorific title as she recruited some 80 female suicide bombers by first having them raped, and then telling them that martyrdom was the only way to escape shame. 28 women took this route and the painting has 28 pink nooses and 28 bullet-like elements.
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