One of the 10 creative women identified as House and Leisure’s Next Generation of talent for 2017, Laylaa Jacobs is a dynamic 22-year-old artist living and working in Cape Town. ‘The moment I picked up a pencil, I was fully drawn to every feeling I experienced when creating something,’ she says. Jacobs completed her Bachelor of Fine Art at Cape Town’s Michaelis School of Fine Art last year, and since then has gone on to exhibit at the Winter Sculpture Fair at Nirox Sculpture Garden in Joburg – all while developing her personal brand, Fulla, which was born out of her ongoing body of work of the same name. ‘Fulla is about my inner chaos as a Muslim woman facing challenges most people take for granted,’ she says.
Jacobs uses her work to challenge the belief that the Muslim female body is a domestic one. ‘Fulla is the name of a Barbie-like fashion doll marketed to children of Islamic and Middle-Eastern countries as an alternative to Barbie. Known as “a girls’ dream doll”, she displays the ideal dress code and behaviour of a Muslim woman. I aim to show my desire to merge both Fulla and Barbie as one identity,’ Jacobs says. ‘As much as I attempt to combine these two identities, I will always be observed as Fulla. Muslim school encouraged me to be modest in behaviour as well as my dress code, but when I returned home each day, I’d play with my Barbie. So I am torn between what I should be and what I want to be.’ Inspired by visual artists such as Shirin Neshat, Jacobs seeks to express the compound intellectual and religious influences shaping the identity of Muslim women around the world.
See a selection of her work below and read her full feature in the August #HLNextGenIssue, in stores and online now.