Exhibition

“When I put this scarf on, I am either going to Yyteri to sunbathe, or I am going to Kirjurinluoto for Pori Jazz concert. It doesn’t matter if it rains or shines, because the scarf will protect you. For me the scarf is associated with joy, fun and a lot with summer.”

A scarf is an accessory, that I use almost every day. I probably have tens of different scarfs. Different colours, different materials: silk, velvet, cotton, red, multi coloured and black - for different purposes and to create an atmosphere.

 

For me this scarf is associated with joy, fun and a lot with summer. When I put this leopard printed scarf on, I am either going to Yyteri to sunbathe, or I am going to Kirjurinluoto for Pori Jazz festival. It doesn’t matter how my hair is done, because the scarf protects me from the sun and rain. This scarf brings joy. Small things can bring you joy.

Scarves express a lot. They state often, where I am going and how I am feeling that day. It is nice to put on clothes that go hand in hand with the mood I am feeling inside. Sometimes it is fun to put on a happy scarf and occasionally to put on a simple black scarf. I have one scarf that I tend to wear a lot, my daughter brought it over from overseas. It has peace signs and hearts. I think it’s lovely that she thought that a mum can wear a scarf like that. We have the same values. Peace and love your close ones.

In our clothing we always send a message. We tell people about ourselves and we also do it to ourselves. Finnish culture creates pressure in the way we dress, just like any other culture creates in different eras. What is fashion, what is the custom, what are the clothing norms in a culture, work environment, what age you are and what gender you represent. Clothing is related to our basic need to fit in, because we need a thing that brings us together. It easily arises questions on: how a same or a different person can be like anybody else?

I think that the way we dress is defined by a lot of things, even though at the same time we can say that in Finland we have a quite moderate free clothing culture. But at the same time, we think, what we should wear when we go out with friends or go to work or to our hobbies. So, we do think, what are the expectations, what signs we want to send to others or what obligations we have. There are many questions.

“A scarf must look good. It should be what you like, and which is  also respectful towards the religion. Some people dress because of religious reasons and to some people it’s about their fashion style. At the moment I am wearing a cotton scarf, it’s so easy and useful, because it stays on.”

Our religious obligation is to use a scarf. A scarf is respect towards the society, religious obligation and also a protection for a woman. Some people get dressed because of religious reasons and others because of fashion. I wear a scarf because of religious reasons. I pray and fast. I started wearing a scarf when I was in high school, but I think that general age for wearing a scarf is about 8-10 years old. When women decide by themselves to wear a scarf they know how to dress it elegantly and they love wearing it.

At the moment I am wearing a scarf that is made of cotton and it’s good because it stays on the head. Chiffon, silk and other thin fabrics are moving so much, and therefore those cannot be used. In the summer and winter there are of course different kinds of materials. There are two different qualities of the scarves, the better-quality scarves that are used in the summer and the secondary quality scarves that are used in the winter. A scarf must look good, it should be what you like, and which is also respectful toward the religion. Some people dress because of religious reasons and to some people it’s about their fashion style.

I was born in the year 1970 and I come from Iraq, Baghdad. I Arrived in Finland with my family on 13.11.2015. In Iraq I accomplished a vocational school and worked in a office.

It would be a big thing to get the residence permit but it’s really difficult to get it. I would be extremely happy and proud if I would get it. If I would get the residence permit I could do any kind of work even clean the streets from snow.

Finnish society is helping us so much and tries to offer us what it can. I haven’t had any kind of difficulties in Finland. The most important thing is safety and peace of mind. Here are no bombs, and no one is pointing a gun at us. It is safe here. In Finland people have respected my scarf and I haven’t received any special reactions concerning it.

“The scarf is like a home. It’s so easy. It is used to protect from weather, cold and warm. And it is so convenient, because I speak a lot, so I protect my throat with it. It can be used as a blanket on travels and that brings the home idea. I couldn’t imagine being without a scarf.”

A scarf is kind of a personal thing for me, you would have to know me quite well, to know what kind of scarf to buy for me. The scarf is like a home. It’s so easy. It is used to protect from weather, cold and warm. And it is so convenient, because I speak a lot, so I protect my throat with it. It can be used as a blanket on travels and that brings the idea of home. I couldn’t imagine being without a scarf. If I don't use it, I tie it to my bag or hand.

My scarves are always real materials, I use cashmere, wool, silk and cotton, because that's when they are most versatile. It has some ecological background. And I have certain thoughts in those scarfs, the scarf subtly tells what it is about.  I am an amid animal patron and elephants are close to my heart, due to my trip back to Finland from Tanzania as a teenager. It is my view, why I tell something with the scarf. All scarfs have some kind of meaning.

 

I can tie a scarf in lot different ways. I can tie it the Russian and the Finnish way. I can also do a certain Muslim version and Japanese version, which is fun. But I don't do it now, because it’s here just like quickly. If it’s done on my head very fancy it does not stay in my head. Once I put it on my head while I was about to go to some party, I had it on my head beautifully, but I was looking myself in the mirror and I saw that it really wasn't my thing. I don't feel like it's real to myself, if I put it on so fancy.

 

I also wear a scarf on my head, if there is a lot of wind, then I pull it on tightly, and fold and put it on. I am from the countryside and it's also a work outfit. You would wear it to a piggery or a barn, because you don't want your hair to smell like a piggery. It's the same when you would go berry picking for lingonberries or blueberries, there is deer flies there so you wear it to be protected. That’s when the beauty is not very important.

 

I was traveling this fall and I got quickly out of a cab, and I left my scarf in the cab. It was awful when I realized that I hadn't checked which cab company it was and at the hotel I asked is there any possibility to find it, if you don’t remember the name of the cab company. But there wasn’t. That's how they are meaningful, if something happens to them, but it’s not the end of the world, but it's more of a pity losing a scarf then like for example gloves or a hat.

“Without the scarf I feel like myself, that’s why I don’t use it. I think all women should dress the way they want to. Just like make-up, the scarf can be worn in many ways, but I just feel more beautiful without it. I appreciate all women who wear a scarf or don’t wear a scarf, because it is their own thing.”

I left with my family from Iraq Baghdad because of the war. We lived in Turkey for five years, where we applied to get in to Europe. I arrived with my family to Finland in the year 2015. I used a scarf in Iraq after Saddam Hussein. The government before and while Saddam Hussein was in power let women decide whether to wear or not to wear a scarf. The current Islamic government demands women to wear a scarf, otherwise they would be kidnapped.

In Liinaharja reception center I use a scarf, because otherwise I would get a bad reputation and people would speak ill about me. For example, when I go to the city, I immediately take my scarf off in the car. I don’t wear a scarf, because I feel peaceful and relaxed without it. I want to present myself beautifully without the scarf.

I think all women should dress the way they want, and all women do want to present themselves in a beautiful way. Women wear makeup, and a scarf can be worn in lots of different ways. I respect all women who wear a scarf or don’t wear a scarf, because it is their own thing.

I would like to fulfil all my daughters’ wishes, everything I couldn’t do, I want my wishes for my daughters. Education and everything. I would like to relax and live my life, forget the past events and study Finnish language.

I feel like the hardest thing has been Finnish language, but otherwise I’ve only had positive experiences in Finland. I think Finnish people are the best people and friendly to me. The education system is good, Finnish people have a great attitude and good values.

“I use a scarf because I have a nice feeling when wearing it. It brings a protected and a safe feeling. For some people wearing a scarf is a family matter and a tradition, but for me it is my own choice.”

I like it, it brings a protected and a safe feeling. Some people wear a scarf because their grandparents wear it, but I want to wear it, because with this I have a comfortable feeling. It is my own choice. In Finland and in other European countries Muslims are wearing just a scarf and shirts with long sleeves but in Iran, Iraq and in other Islamic countries people are wearing a lot these long costumes called chadors. Here in Finland are not so many Muslims and therefore Finnish people do not often know how we get dressed in our own society. We do not want to frighten anyone because of the way we get dressed, nor cause any fearful situations. I am wearing a scarf here in Finland, but I reckon that Finns find it a quite strange thing. I would like to wear a scarf in peace and I hope that Finns wouldn’t be afraid of the scarf.

 

I arrived in Finland with my family in the year 2015. I am 38 years old Afghan, but I lived in Iran. I have four children one boy and three daughters. In Iran I went to school only for five years, so I accomplished primary school. Later, I studied photographing and image processing. I am very interested in that field. I would like to study that field more here in Finland and work with photographing. First, I would like to study more Finnish language. At the moment my youngest daughter is in the day care centre and my other children are going to school.

 

Sometimes when I have been going in to the city with the scarf someone has come to said that I should leave from Finland just because I stand out from other people. I would like to say to the hecklers that my usage of the scarf, the hijab does not disturb your life and it shouldn’t offend you. You don’t need to be afraid of the hijab. Islam says that a woman should wear the hijab and I want to respect that.

 

It is pleasant in Finland and here is a lot of opportunities for children. Here it is possible to get an education that is not necessarily in other countries. Finnish education system is very fine thing especially for the kids.

“My oldest scarf is from the year 2005. Me and my sister were only teenagers when our mum gave us some money to buy some winter clothes. I found a wonderful pink jacket and a scarf that suited it. I was thinking at the time that, it’s pretty expensive, and after that I couldn’t afford to buy a beanie. But I just had to buy that scarf, it was just so great. And I still have it.”

The biggest reason why I wear a scarf is, so I won’t get cold outside. It is also an accessory, it is a part of my style. I wear a scarf around my neck, but sometimes on my head too, if it is raining and I have forgotten my umbrella. But on my head, I don't wear it in a meaningful way. I also have so many scarfs: very different, some a bit thicker, but I probably don't have any woollen scarves, I hate it when they itch. All colours just around my neck, and I tie them there somehow. The one that looks good to my eyes is when I see myself on the mirror, then that's the scarf!

 

The first time I remember that I wore a scarf was when I was a kid during the end of 90’s. That’s when there were those elf shaped hats that had a long scarf attached to the head. It was my first one, it was the world's coolest thing in primary school. You would tie it around your neck, it was so pretty!

 

I remember pondering with my mom about Christmas presents. She said that I should get her as a gift a scarf, because I have so many of them and I would know what kind of scarves to buy for others. I always keep hearing from my mom that you have so many scarfs. Very often people are always telling me, that don’t buy another scarf again. But you can never have enough, they are all so different and I match them with different outfits. I once dragged from Florence four scarfs, I think also then somebody said, don't buy anymore scarfs. Also, at that moment I was thinking that I should've bought even more scarfs.

 

My oldest scarf is from the year 2005. Me and my sister were only teenagers when our mum gave us some money to buy some winter clothes. I found a wonderful pink jacket and a scarf that suited it. I was thinking at the time that, it’s pretty expensive, and after that I couldn’t afford to buy a beanie. But I just had to buy that scarf, it was just so great. And I still have it.

I think there is one reason why I started to use scarfs more frequently. I broke my clavicle in a small traffic accident in the year 2010. After that we were having a pre-Christmas party at work. I felt that with the arm sling no jewellery wouldn’t look good, and so I bought a nice decorative scarf that went over my clothes well and covered the arm sling a bit. After that I probably started to wear scarfs even more.

“I am a Muslims, and in our Quran, it says that women should wear a hijab. In the Quran there are lot of different rulings, but it does not force in to anything. In our religion there are a lot of women who don’t wear a scarf. It is not demanded.”

I can say that when I was a child, my whole family wore a scarf. Since childhood I’ve been wearing it. But although while being an adult I have the option to choose to take it or not, I want to keep it. I want to wear it and I like the scarf. Wearing a scarf comes from family and from the culture. A scarf is a protection. The Muslim girls begin wearing the scarf at the age of nine years old at the same time they begin going to divine service.

 

Two years ago, I came from Iran to Finland. I have two children. I went to high school in Iran. In Finland I would like to study more to become a nurse or cosmetologist.
 

I am a Muslim, and in our Quran, it says that women have to cover their head. It should be a hijab-scarf. In the Quran there are lot of different rulings, but it does not force in to anything. If someone wants to, one can wear a scarf. But in our religion, there are also a lot of different women who don’t wear a scarf, it is not demanded. If one wants to wear the scarf, one can. In our religion we have a lot of women who do not wear the scarf.

 

Scarves can be in different colours and used in different ways just like any other clothes. Same matters are applied wearing a scarf like wearing any other clothing too. I decide what kind of scarf I wear based on what I like. In my opinion scarf is beautiful.

 

I have lived in Finland about two years, and all that time I have been living in the reception centre. Therefore, unfortunately I don’t have many contacts to Finnish culture or knowledge about it. I would like to know more about Finnish culture: what you like to do and what kind of habits you have. You have equal rights and women have good liberties. In Afghanistan women don’t have equal rights and they are not free. Here in Finland there is equality.

“I Began to wear a hijab when I was nine years old, just like all Shia Muslims. I take it off only at home. It is nice to wear a hijab in Finland because I feel like people respect me here. The most important thing is your heart, what you do and think. Not what you are wearing.”

In Islamic culture and religion scarf is a protection for women, and it protects them. By the religion women are safe with the hijab scarf. The scarf brings to me a feeling of protection and I couldn’t imagine to be without it. I have been using it since I was nine years old. In my opinion it would be better that Muslim women would wear a scarf but even if they wouldn’t wear a scarf, it won’t make them any worse Muslim. The most important is your heart, what you think and what you do.

I was born in Iraq, in Basra, where I was working as a farmer. I have nine children, five daughters and for sons. When problems started in 1992, I moved with my husband, mother in law and five children from Basra to Najaf. When war started in Iraq in 2003, we moved away from Najaf. Already at that time we wanted to leave from Iraq because the country’s government changed. Only the youngest child of our children is with us in Finland, but all the rest of our children are in Iraq. The children didn’t want to leave from Iraq, and we only had to leave because the government threatened us because my husband is against of them. We left from Iraq by a small boat with 14 other people to Turkey. We had to pay 8 000 dollars, so we got to go on the trip. We travelled from Turkey to Finland through 12 countries for 17 days. Sometimes we were travelling by bus, sometimes by foot and sometimes we had to sleep outside. During the journey our son was very ill, and I had to carry him. We arrived in Finland in September 2015.

I don’t get any negative attitudes here for wearing a hijab in Finland. I take it off only when I am at home. I don’t have any problems while I wear it in Finland and Pori. I feel like people respect me here in Finland. I think people here are very open and accepting. No-one hasn’t been asking anything about my scarf here and I have been using it just in a normal way. I have seen old Finnish movies, and in those all the women are using a headscarf. I believe that Finns know about this and they know that Finns are wearing a scarf too, so scarves are not a new thing for them. Now it is a good opportunity to bring out the Finnish women’s usage of the scarf only from the hundred years back.

We have tried to ask our children who still live in Iraq to Finland. My husband said to them that they should sell their homes and come to Europe. Here is safer and much better to be. I don’t want to be forced back to Iraq, it is not safe there. How could I return back to the country where are no human rights? How could I take my child back there when he wouldn’t have any opportunities or future? I hope that I could bring my two unmarried daughters to Finland.

“For me wearing a scarf means safety. I don’t take it off at all, because otherwise I feel unsafe. When I wear a scarf, I feel like I am a Muslim. For me it is important.”

I was born in Iraq, Baghdad in the year 1961. For me wearing a scarf means protection and safety. I don’t take it off at all, because otherwise I feel unsafe. When I wear a scarf, I feel like I am a Muslim. My daughter does not wear a scarf. Even though one wouldn’t wear a scarf one can still be a Muslim. I love my daughter a lot.

 

I wanted to leave from Iraq because my son was kidnapped when he was only 14 years-old. When I wanted to get him back I had to pay a ransom and I was shot in the hand. I also have two daughters the other lives in Helsinki and she is married. My other Daughter lives in Turku. My husband and son are living in Iraq, in Erbil. They live in Erbil because it is safer than Baghdad. My husband and son didn’t get to come to Finland because there was not enough money. We sold our home in Baghdad and I left with our daughters to Finland. The journey from Iraq to Finland took a month. We travelled by foot, by car and by other vehicles. In Finland I would like to study more Finnish language because the communication is difficult. I would also like to get Finnish friends. I just want to stay in Finland, bring my husband and son here. I miss my son a lot.

 

Iraq is an Islamic country, and if a woman doesn’t wear a hijab she doesn’t get respect. People might talk bad things about her behind the back. Also, one of the reasons why I decided to leave to Finland was my youngest daughter who is very European and she doesn’t wear the hijab. I was so scared for her that someone from Iraq’s new government would kidnap her too and that they would kill her. During the earlier government of Saddam Hussein, it was much freer not to wear the hijab. The current government started send letters to my family where they pressured us because of the lifestyle of my daughter.

 

After the stabbings of Turku daughter of mine who lives in Turku called me and said that I shouldn’t go out during the next few days. She said that the situation is difficult for women who wear the hijab and it’s not safe to go outside, so I stayed inside three days. I would like to say to people who might wonder about the hijab that we, Muslims and women who are wearing the hijab do not automatically belong to ISIS or any other terrorist organization. Our clothing doesn’t connect us to any radical organizations. In Finland some of the people especially young people are sometimes very angry, and they don’t smile neither talk to me. Older people have been very open. They are greeting, smiling and talking to me. However most of the people that I have met have been open and nice to me.

“This is my festive scarf, I got it from a French lady as a gift and I think this is very beautiful. This is my most beautiful scarf, and this really represents my personality. So that’s why I have this, my personality is in this scarf. Sunny, summery and happy.”

A scarf is pretty. It brings colour, it gives light, it pictures my mood at that moment. It also covers my neck and shoulder, I get ache and other things, so it really does protect and give warmth. It is such a nice light addition and voluntary. In Finland everything is self-imposed.

 

I have one lovely memory to do with a scarf. My dad remarried some time ago and then me and my then future stepsister got hair rollers to put on our heads.  We got brand new scarves for that, so the hair rollers would stay on our heads. We wore the hair rollers all forenoon, pushed the doll stroller around and played mums. And also, my then future stepmom was also wearing a scarf on her head, we were so fancy.

 

I’ve worked a lot at the refugee centres. It is obvious, that I always wear a scarf when I go there, it's a respect thing for different religions. When I go to other people’s homes, it’s when you step over the threshold, so therefore I dress and act like it's hoped in the apartment. When they come to the public health nurse’s office, they behave like I would hope they would. I think it’s amazing when the people there complimented my scarfs. It didn’t have to be just a black, brown or grey, it could be like a flowery and pretty scarf, and I really have very pretty scarfs. They even tried on my scarfs, and they let me try on their scarfs. It was like a women's thing there. I respected them, and they respected me.

 

 

We in Finland do have religious meaning to scarves as well. If I go to church and I have noticed my clothing would be too revealing I have taken then a scarf with me. I am also respectful towards our church too, and wouldn’t go there in too revealing clothes. Yes, it is obvious, that’s when you wear a shawl. I don’t feel like it’s a necessary thing to do, but its respectful.

 

Variance in people is lovely. It is just respecting people's values, how all of us dress. It is so embarrassing when somebody would yell something to a punker. Really, it’s just a value and a choice that one has also done. Values and choices, which everyone has done. Someone might have been born in to a culture that chooses the decisions knowingly that you would protect yourself from looks. Some people get born in to a choice and some people don't get any other options, and at the end you don’t know how to or can’t give it up. Underneath the scarf there is always normal people.