My work stems from the complexities of inhabiting multiple personas: woman, Muslim, immigrant, naturalized citizen, insider and outsider. Through video, sound, and performance, I challenge and celebrate the socio-cultural and religious iconography I was raised with. I work with the kaleidoscopic varieties of aesthetic production in the Muslim world that are marginalized both within conservative Islam and the Western imagination. I investigate the tension between personal narratives, nostalgias and collective historical memories, especially around ideas of “homeland”, using imagination and fantasy to transcend binary definitions of our various identities.
Formally, my work exists between documentary, fiction and folklore and is sourced from original footage and archival material gathered in Los Angeles where I live and from travels to South Asia and the Middle East. My recent work has been centered around exploring female cis- and trans- identity in rural Pakistan within Sufi trance sects and includes two video works and a recent album of field recordings on the label Sublime Frequencies. As part of my ongoing Discostan project, I have performed visual and sound pieces for the Hammer Museum and UC Irvine, using archival ethnographic material fractured by collage and glitch to express the displacement I experience living between disparate moral and political realms. I have also been developing an intervention project, “Stranger In A Strange Land” – a series where I perform my own interpretations of characters from American pop culture from the vantage point of immigrant imagination. To date I have performed as Marilyn Monroe on Hollywood Boulevard.