End hate in Palestine

Respectfully, I would like to ask what workshops, guest lectures, actions or even op-eds have been forthcoming from the Levine Center to End Hate as a response to the spectacular hate and violence we are seeing from Israel, violence enacted on the bodies of Palestinians, including children (nine kids have been killed in Gaza). Pls call them and ask: (585) 461-0490. The Levine Center is part of the Jewish Federation, which supports the occupation of Palestine. Yet the Center has embedded itself in anti-racism work. We need to hold them accountable. One cannot fight racism in one context and buttress it in another.

Noura Erakat and Mariam Barghouti in the Washington Post: As May 15 marks the 73rd commemoration of the mass expulsion of Palestinians from cities such as Haifa, Tarshiha and Safad in 1948, let the world bear witness to Jerusalem today. This is how refugees are made, this is our ongoing Nakba. Our freedom struggle is not for a state but for belonging to the land, to remain on it, to keep our homes, to resist erasure. But somehow calling it by its name on social media, revealing to the world what has been happening for decades, seems more offensive than our ongoing displacement at gun point. There’s no denying the reality: This is Zionist settler colonialism, where if one settler does not take our homes, another settler will. When will the world open its eyes to this injustice and respond appropriately? We do not need more empty both sides-isms, we need solidarity to overcome apartheid.

George Jackson in the Sun of Palestine

The overlaps between Palestinian and Black liberation movements <3

How did a poem by Palestinian poet, Samih al-Qasim, come to be known and published under George Jackson’s name, in English translation? George Jackson, a Black revolutionary writer, was incarcerated in California for more than a decade, until he was killed in 1971 by prison guards. Among the ninety-nine books Jackson had in his cell at the time of his death, one was “Enemy of the Sun,” a collection of Palestinian resistance poetry. For four decades, the title poem of the collection has circulated in Black Panther newspapers and other venues under George Jackson’s name. In this episode, Professor Greg Thomas discusses his recovery of this shared history, and the traveling exhibition that emerged from his research. Listen here.

The Warp & Weft – Eleventh Set of Stories

Today on Mother’s Day, we release the last set of Warp & Weft stories brought to u via our collab with Rochester Contemporary Art Center! In this special set, we have a story about the reassessment of one’s life by Gulrukh Syed, another about the draw of the open road by Saira Murtza, a poetic story about introspection/extrospection by Rajesh Barnabas, and one about a life in theater by Rose Pasquarello Beauchamp. Finally, a weaving together of all the stories thru an art object created by Karen Faris. Read, listen, look at maraahmedstudio.com. This is an ongoing project – pls stay engaged and let us know if u want to share a story!

Repost from Rochester Contemporary Art Center:

What Makes Us Who We Are by Gulrukh Syed
Over the last few months, I have allowed myself to pause a little and introspect, to understand my own mind. I guess the pandemic and a few major changes in my relationships have forced me to do so. [Photo: Jahanzeb Sye

The Open Road – Discovery, Freedom and Healing by Saira Murtza
I have often wondered why traveling down an open road provides me with a certain freedom and healing seldom felt elsewhere. Though we may travel down the same highways, and drive past the same mile markers, the aging structures and familiar visited rest stops, each of us imprints our own impressions of a world based on our own experiences, leaving footprints of our own story in the landscape.

The End of Isolation/Introspection Extrospection by Rajesh Barnabas
So I must confess, I am everything. I am the galaxy of galaxies. Agreed that philosophers have wrongly pointed out the errors of my theorem, that testimony is unscientific, that knowledge only arrives when two or more people can experience it. But I tell you, I am the universe. [Photo: Megha Barnabas]

A Life in Theater by Rose Pasquarello Beauchamp
I was driving today listening to a random playlist when a song from ‘Les miserables’ began to play. I found myself overcome with emotion. While music often impacts me, it wasn’t that. [Photo: Cheryl Adams Johnson]

The Warp and Weft Of It All by Karen Faris: An artistic response to the archive

solidarity with sheikh jarrah

solidarity with sheikh jarrah and palestinian worshippers attacked by israeli police inside al aqsa mosque. there are no limits to israeli barbarity. boycott, divestment, sanctions.

Islam al Khatib: I am a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon. What I’m currently witnessing in Palestine in real time is what my grandparents survived. It is ethnic cleansing. It breaks my heart to be here, away from my people. But it also warms my heart to see waves of solidarity from across the globe.

A Thin Wall now free on the Bandra Film Festival channel

Dear friends, A Thin Wall is now free to watch on the Bandra Film Festival channel on YouTube. Produced by Surbhi Dewan and myself and shot on both sides of the India-Pakistan border, it is our love letter to all those who were lost and displaced, forced to leave home and cross colonial lines. From the wonderful review by @ind.igenous: “Filmmaker Mara Ahmed’s documentary, ‘A Thin Wall’ is a haunting and thought-provoking account of the partition. Strung together are stories, memories and experiences of those who suffered, leaving behind what they called home, plunging into the unknown. Yet, like wilted flowers inside an old book, love still remains on each side of the border. The documentary reminds one of Zarina Hashmi’s art, of a constant search for home, and the pain of separation.”

The Warp & Weft – Tenth Set of Stories

4 new Warp & Weft stories today! A gorgeous poem by Roja, a story about colorful human passions by Katherine Denison, another about rivers and community from Limerick, Ireland, by Zoe Lawlor, and a story about personal growth by Yvonne Colton. Finally, an artistic response to the archive from Vermont by Delia Robinson. Pls listen, read, look at maraahmedstudio.com ??

Repost from Rochester Contemporary Art Center:

Visit The Warp & Weft archive today for the second to last release of 4 new audio stories curated by Mara Ahmed! Click over to maraahmedstudio.com and listen to:

Fall Theatrics by Roja
Fall colors collapse
on my peeling deck
tired leaves on stage
with makeup
mimic my struggles

Bad Monk by Katherine Denison
We bond in community by place and age, by race, size, education, skills, then into self-selected groups by passions. Fish and Gun Clubbers. Skydivers. When I’m lucky, I meet someone whose base group has burst into glittery bits of divine attention. Extreme pleasures. Beautiful time-benders. Finding secret selves is my life’s joy. [Photo: Julie Gelfand, Gelfand-Piper Photography]

This River by Zoë Lawlor
I live in a small city in the midwest of Ireland, Limerick, it wouldn’t be a city in many countries but it is here, in this small one, and it is my home. Outside my work I’m involved in a lot of activism, in Palestine solidarity, anti-war activism, refugee and migrant support and anti-racism work here. [Photo: Donal Higgins]

Change Starts With Me by Yvonne Colton
I remember growing up as a young girl in the 90s obsessed with Disney princesses and the classic damsel in distress mentality. I would swoon over the dashing princes and men who would save the day, and of course my life wouldn’t be complete without the color pink! [Photo: Adam Eaton]

Bridget’s Concert by Delia Robinson: An artistic response to the archive

The Warp & Weft is a multilingual archive of stories that seeks to capture the 2020 zeitgeist, curated by interdisciplinary artist and activist filmmaker @mara__ahmed.

CIA recruitment ad and identity struggles

Aisha Ahmad: ‘Actual quotes from a new CIA recruitment ad:
“I am a woman of color”
“I am a cisgender millennial”
“I have been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder”
“I am intersectional”
…Yes, power co-opts the language of the left
No, it wouldn’t co-opt “workers of the world unite!”
Yes, struggles around identity are struggles for survival, dignity & justice
No, struggles around identity without roots in class & anti-imperialism are NOT projects of the left.’

The Warp & Weft – Ninth Set of Stories

4 new Warp & Weft stories today! one about having a baby in the midst of a pandemic by Nabeeha Chaudhary, another in French about an exceptionally gifted dog by Sab Le, a reflection on the nature of time by yours truly, and one about connection and imagination at a time of isolation by Arseniy Gutnik. Finally, a moving artistic response to the archive by the beautiful Indian artist Rollie Mukherjee. Listen, read, look here.

Repost from Rochester Contemporary Art Center:

Visit The Warp & Weft archive today for the release of 4 new audio stories curated my Mara Ahmed! Click the link maraahmedstudio.com and listen to:

Hello Baby, Welcome To A Whole New World by Nabeeha Chaudhary
I went in for a routine ultrasound in March, a couple of weeks before the baby was expected. Covid panic was just setting in, in Austin, and toilet paper was disappearing off the shelves. The doctor chatted with us about which grocery stores were better stocked and soon we were good to leave. [Photo: Massan Photography]

Babou par Sabine Lebrun
Babou by Sabine Lebrun: I have several animals, dogs and cats, but Babou is an exceptional dog. She is an old dog and I truly dread the time of her departure, because she has incredible empathy for dogs, humans, and also members of other species.

Connectedness by Mara Ahmed
Although I’ve always revolted against linearity, I think I began to engage seriously with the concept of time during the fall of 2019, when I introduced my students to Afrofuturisms. [Photo: Aitezaz Ahmed]

Connection, Isolation, and Imagination by Arseniy Gutnik
During this pandemic, I have been thinking about connection and isolation. The new normal of quarantines and lockdowns has impacted my connections with people, and heightened my awareness of connecting with myself.

Barbs Inside My Flesh by Rollie Mukherjee: An artistic response to the archive

dar al islam

today we walked to the french pastry shop and creperie to pick up some tarte aux fruits and eclairs and had breakfast outdoors, in the santa fe plaza. then off to abiquiu. first stop: dar al islam. it’s ‘a Muslim village begun in 1977 by American and European converts who wanted to live amid the Native American pueblos in northern New Mexico. The village, which was constructed in Abiquiu, New Mexico, boasts an adobe mosque as its centerpiece. Completed in 1981 and situated on 1,600 acres, the mosque and adjoining madrassah include vaulted ceilings, domes, archways, gardens, courtyards, and a library. The Dar al Islam community of several dedicated families consists of educators, artists, poets, and writers who want to “build bridges between Muslims and the wider North American community by communicating the deep spirituality and beauty of the Islamic tradition by living it.”’

folk art vs. art

i’ve never understood the difference between folk art and ‘art.’ after all, expressions of cultural heritage, folklore and tradition also come into play in the creation of ‘high art’ (it’s not suspended in some kind of vacuum). the distinctions between artifact, craft, ornament and art are so many borders and hierarchies that we shouldn’t respect. at the museum of international folk art, i saw such beautiful objects from all across the world. their permanent collection is impressively lavish. they also had a special exhibit called ‘sewing stories of displacement’ – it tells stories of ‘forced migrations, new transitions, and memories’ through embroidery and weaving. the people looked familiar in one of them. i read ‘railway station’ written in urdu across the top. it’s about displacement – ‘the forced migration of kahuta residents (in pakistan) after the area became a site for the national atomic bomb project in 1976,’ something i had never heard of before. the power of art.

yokai and war rugs

at the museum of international folk art, ‘yokai: ghosts and demons of japan’ and ‘the art of afghan war rugs’ – an exhibition that should be properly problematized in the united states (the imperial war machine) but isn’t. i had already seen some of it at the memorial art gallery in rochester. the work is beautiful. the violence that seeps into cultures and artifacts heartbreaking.

Filmmakers in Solidarity

filmmaker friends, pls read and sign here if u agree. this letter addresses the complete lack of diversity in the PBS system, which is supposed to represent “public media for all.” if i see another ken burns documentary…

“A census on the entire PBS system is overdue. In addition to boards of trustees and management, what is the demographic breakdown at the top producing stations of their Executive Producers and above-the-line teams, currently and historically? Data also needs to be collected on the programmers of all stations, as they collectively influence what is seen across the US. Until the scope of the problem is made public, how can it be solved?”

The Warp & Weft – Eighth Set of Stories

4 new Warp & Weft stories today! One about the strangeness of MMXX by Noelle Mirabal-Evans, wonderful reflections in Hindi by Surbhi Dewan, a story about birding and the northern cardinal by Kay Saleem, and another about rupture and repair by Yan Lehmann. Finally, a beautiful artistic response by Sarah Sills. Listen, read, look here.

Repost from Rochester Contemporary Art Center:

Head over to maraahmedstudio.com and listen to the newest stories from The Warp & Weft archive!

MMXX: Strange Times by Noelle Evans
You know, two thousand twenty in Roman numerals is M-M X-X. Double M double X. I’ve decided to refer to this year in this way for as long as it serves me. What a year it was for the fall of the Roman Empire. Right? It just feels fitting. [Photo: Madelyn Bradt]

Just Some Thoughts by Surbhi Dewan
Two thousand and twenty. As the year comes to an end, it feels like not much was accomplished. And yet, this year will stay with us for many years to come. I still can’t believe how in March, the whole world came to a standstill. The whole world frozen in time, as all of us retreated into our homes together.

My Spark Bird by Kalsoom Saleem
A spark bird is the bird that triggers an interest in birding or bird watching. For me it was the northern cardinal. [Photo: Zidaan Aamer]

Rupture and Repair By Ian Layton
It is on those particularly still and heavy days that I sit and remember the birth of the universe. The memory contained in my every cell. My mind’s eye catches the moment when life burst forth and set us on this divine course. [Photo: Evan Zachary]

Spark Feather by Sarah Sills: An artistic response to the archive