Family Dynamics Series

Family and Home: Our Perceptions Regarding Identity, Religion, and Culture

My work has been inspired by my family’s migration from Egypt to the United States in 1985, in search of better opportunity and a better life. I was eight years old at the time, and growing up as a female in a Muslim family on Western land was an interesting juxtaposition. It has proved to be a vital experience that has allowed me to think critically about social, cultural, religious, and gender based practices. I approach my artwork first from a personal, and then from a shared universal social experience that allows for reflection on adopted modes of thinking, and their antithesis. Though my work I have explored ideas about female sexuality as liberation, the veil as a source of conflict and transformation, adornment as a cultural practice of seduction, clothing and costume as an element of persona, and most recently, domestic space as a stage and home as a transient impermanent concept.

In 2010, I started photographing my parents in their Lake Michigan apartment in Chicago. Photographing my own family allows me to create a personal and social document about growing up Muslim in the United States. The Family Dynamics Series are portraits of my family that touch upon the customs of Muslim religion and traditions of country, and at the same time reflect upon my own personal distance from it, or integration within it. Growing up in the West has altered my perceptions regarding identity, especially as it pertains to women, matrimony, religion, and sexuality. Growing up Muslim in the United States is a merging of two cultures simultaneously.