Page 23: Azeema #1

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For the second in our new series taking a close-up look at a magazine via the randomly chosen page 23, we look at the first issue of Azeema.

The page contains a single photograph, a full bleed colour image of a woman in a burqa, the opening page of a shoot inspired by an all-female indie rock band from Afghanistan who protest anonymously against the rules of islamic dress enforced by the Taliban. Here, the anonymous woman poses with an electric guitar, using this symbol of Western rebellion.

The shoot has no title or headline, but it follows two white pages with four mannered columns of small text about empowerment. The link is evident. Like the front cover of the issue, a woman driving wearing a burka, Azeema focuses on the women who take risks and document their stories as a tool for impact and empathy. The magazine discusses and debates issues of resistance, empowerment and femininity for Middle Eastern and North African women.

Editor Jameela Elfaki, a student at London’s Central Saint Martins art school, introduces this first issue with the intention to empower, but not to offend. Page 23 is a small taste of how the new launch has jumped in at the deep end, and how they intend to carry on in a respectful yet rebellious fashion.

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