Zaha was an outsider and upfront about the unfair treatment she experienced as a woman, a foreigner and a designer of expensive, weird-looking buildings – a triple whammy. She did not fit the stereotypical white male profession of registered architects. Jealousy and prejudice failed to bar her way, but it took its toll. Very few people realise the misogynistic, racist and anti-architect environment she had to navigate in Britain. For Muslims, minorities and women, Zaha is a shining torch beaming into the dark minds for whom a few tiles falling off a building seemed a justification to dismiss her work.
Zaha Hadid’s The Peak Project, Hong Kong, China (1991)
In response to last week’s executive order denying citizens from seven predominantly Muslim nations entry to the United States, we have installed works by artists from some of those countries throughout our collection galleries. One of these works is Zaha Hadid’s The Peak Project, Hong Kong, China (1991), adjacent to Henri Rousseau’s The Sleeping Gypsy (1897). Hadid (British, born Iraq. 1950–2016) became the first woman, and first Iraqi, to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004. See this work up close.