My media based art practice explores the realm of the moving image as a place of re-examination and possibility. It is a way for me to pull apart and reconstruct the threads of my life. Working in video, installation, performance and photography, I investigate my body and my South Asian Muslim Canadian female identity as a social construction.
The impetus for my art-making has always been curiosity, questioning and investigating. I want to uncover the place of agency within the structures that are imposed upon me. Fabric is a recurring metaphor to represent the many layers of codes wrapped around women’s bodies. It is a structure for me to hang meaning on – fabric can flow, constrain, codify and signify. It represents culture.
Through observing the formal and aesthetic properties of cultural gestures such as prayer, wearing a hijab, dressing/undressing, I deconstruct and reimagine how social codes and rituals can occupy the body. I experiment by pushing gestures beyond where they normally rest.
My works begin from the personal place of my Islamic South Asian Canadian heritage and end as images that can be read by a wider audience. The 6 meter long sari is abstracted into a long swath of red silk. A hooded sweatshirt stands in for a hijab. I deliberately use the conventions of mass media such as cinematic projections and seductive imagery to invite viewers to enter my work and settle in. I slow down and repeat images to facilitate reflection and reconsideration. I magnify texture and body parts so as to connect the viewer to a physical sensation.
In the process of image-making I see myself and unveil meaning in my life. I invite viewers to inhabit this imaginative space and reconsider their own experience.
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