Jourdan Simmonds BFA Communication Design Thesis Spring 2017
Briyani at its more pure form is a recognition of language in food and basketball. They’re forms of language that help me acclimate to foreign and familiar cultures. Sports, specifically basketball, thrives in America. Ingrained in our pop-culture; basketball’s pronounciation trickles down through our art, music and style. Breaking bread on the other hand is the ultimate bond; having the ability to connect strangers and cultures through a shared meal.
Briyani is a language structure of basketball and food, two familiar languages used to introduce my audience to a new idea; Halal food in Malaysia. At this point of time, Briyani takes the physical form of a collection of basketball jerseys and installation. The project is inspired by research conducted throughout my first semester abroad in Penang, Malaysia, the pronounced food capital of SE Asia. The concept stemmed from a reaction towards the reverse culture shock of leaving Malaysia, a primarily Islamic county, and returning home to America’s celebration of Islamophobia.
This collection of clothes utilizes 2 approachable and familiar facades: basketball and food. The clothes are intended to look and attract like sportswear, but tell a different story about Halal food in Malaysia. Briyani utilizes the aesthetic form of basketball to subvert itself within American pop-culture. The first read is basketball, then Malaysian Halal food, following more importantly, an introduction towards a more colorful spectrum of Muslim identity. Here in the west, Islam is not as popular. Our dialogue we have with Islamic identity is usually through the sensationalization of media, thus creating very skewed molds of the Muslim ideology.
The name Briyani comes from Nasi Briyani. A delicious yellow rice found in Malaysia as well as the middle east, a metaphor to express the diversity of Muslim identity. Briyani at this point, is a starting point towards a bigger conversation: recognizing common languages to connect and understand culture.