seeing ‘the changemakers’ at RMSC

at the rochester museum & science center today where we saw ‘the changemakers’ exhibit which is stunning. recognized so many beautiful women friends who are part of the exhibition. two pieces from my art series ‘this heirloom’ are on display there. one is a graphic collage with my mom and her sister, when they were little girls. the other is called ‘embroidered dreams’ and it’s a tribute to my paternal grandmother, niaz fatima. my grandmother became a widow when she was quite young and struggled to raise and educate her children, in a highly patriarchal family system. i was wondering how she would feel about her picture hanging in a museum in rochester, new york, a tribute by a granddaughter she didn’t see grow up. it felt empowering.
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rmsc #thechangemakers #beachangemaker #womensupportingwomen #womenempowerment #pakistan #rochesteny

in karachi

i’ve been working 24/7 on a new community-oriented art project and the gorgeous website that will house it (thank u Isabelle for ur brilliant work on the website) and so i’m looking through old external hard drives to find and organize artwork and photography i have produced over the years. came across this picture from karachi where i was working at the time – my first serious job as a management trainee at ICI. wonderful times when everything was exciting and possible, even though i was stuck in a corporate world that never really jibed with me. still i will always be grateful for jobs that made me financially independent and able to live on my own in a diverse and insane metropolis, almost double the population of nyc. photograph by Umar:)

The Unvarnished Truth about Obama, Harris and Diversity without Accountability

Jordan Elgrably asked me to flesh out my post about Obama for The Markaz Review. I was trying to keep the post private, lol, but here it is with more thoughts about representation without accountability. Pls recommend/comment on the Markaz website if you like this column:) More here.

lecture at UR on multiple feminisms

earlier this week i taught a UR class on gender, sexuality and women’s studies about islam and feminism. thank u tanya for inviting me. these are the three women whose work i used to make a case for multiple feminisms.

i talked about saba mahmood’s ‘politics of piety’ and the need to self-parochialize by acknowledging the specificities and limits of one’s own position in the world. she reminds us that western knowledge is not self-sufficient or neutral, that it is divisive, exclusionary and complicit in harm.

i relied on francoise verges for an understanding of decolonial feminism and the problematic relationship between bourgeois women in the global north and women in the global south as well as WOC in the global north – the ones who take care of their children, clean their homes, and do their nails. she questions the meaning of ‘autonomy’ under oppressive systems of militarization, surveillance, obscene inequalities, precariousness and disposability. to her, decolonial feminism is about constant questioning and curiosity, and about decolonizing oneself (examining one’s own prejudices).

finally, houria boutelja confronts savior feminism and the privilege of solidarity. she refuses to answer the question: ‘is islam compatible with feminism?’ and tells us that the submissive muslim woman is a myth – she’s never met one. i cannot thank these women scholars and activists enough for their sharp analysis and powerful work. so many of us stand on their shoulders.

I am part of The Changermakers exhibit at RMSC

Hey everyone, I’m thrilled to be featured in this new exhibit at RMSC. It’s called ‘The Changemakers: Rochester Women Who Changed the World?’ and it highlights stories of women visionaries and trailblazers from Rochester.

It’s opening at the Rochester Museum and Science Center on November 20. You can visit the exhibit in person (no worries, there will be safety protocols in place). It’s a historic representation of woman power.

Learn more about The Changemakers: RMSC.org/changemakers #BeChangemakers

supporting friends and community

hello roc friends, just wondering if a petition in support of Iman Abid-Thompson addressed to the NYCLU has already been started? if not, i’d like to get working on it quickly. as everyone knows, iman is one of the lead organizers for Free The People Roc. we need to come together, speak up as a community, and model solidarity. pls let me know if something is already in the works. thx.

JVP in nyc

so i joined JVP’s NYC chapter and they welcomed me w such warmth and love. added me immediately to their cinema palestine team and are super excited by all my ideas (i have too many). the other people on the team are filmmakers, playwrights, artists, an assistant curator at the whitney, and a psychotherapist who’s palestinian american. all activists of course and lots of young people. thrilled to start working together:)

The Ecology of Perception – David Abram

in jan 2019, we organized a community discussion on ‘from inclusion to equity: the diversity advantage’ at the gandhi institute for nonviolence. the idea came out of an interview i did on wxxi. i was talking about the partition of india and the insanity of wanting to homogenize richly plural cultures, languages and religions, when mary scipioni called in and shared the need for diversity in her work – landscape architecture. more diverse systems create resilience and strength, as well as beauty. this prompted a conversation on diversity, approached from different angles and areas of expertise. so happy to come across material, all the time, that highlights the connections we were trying to make.

David Abram: ‘It seems to me that falling in love outward with the more-than-human earth is the deepest medicine for this, because if there’s anything that the local earth wherever you live teaches, it’s the need for diversity, the need for the whole, weird multiplicity of shapes of life and styles of sentience—all of them shaped so differently from you and from one another—to be interacting with one another in order for the land to be strong, to be healthy, to be resilient. And so as we open our hearts and open our senses to the wider sensuous earth, I think we imbibe this deep teaching of diversity, of the need for an irreducible pluralism, and for celebrating otherness and radical alterity, radical otherness in our world, not looking to just shelter ourselves among those who think just like us or speak just like us or look just like us, but taking deep, new pleasure in otherness and strangeness.’ More here.

film shoots with lu and tonya

two beautiful shoots today with two brilliant women. thank u Lu Highsmith and Tonya Noel for ur time and support. it rained on a day of filming, in spite of all my efforts to move things around. my friend judy toyer told me not to be afraid of the rain but rather to embrace it. best advice ever – thank u Rajesh Barnabas. couldn’t have done it without u.
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theinjuredbody #film #documentary #racism #america #neelumfilms #womenofcolorrock #microaggressionsarereal #rochesterny

Filming Liz and Lauren

what an incredible day today! shot b roll with Rajesh Barnabas. first we filmed liz nicolas doing yoga in her beautiful garden, then we shot lauren jimerson and her son angel processing corn and creating art at the iroquois white corn project in victor, finally i had dinner with the beautiful Kristin Hocker and Pamela Kim at sinbad’s – ate excellent food and talked and talked until they closed. why i love rochester so much.

The Injured Body: Liz Nicolas

Transcribing interviews for my new doc ‘The Injured Body’

Anti-racism consultant, yoga instructor, and attorney Liz Nicolas (owner of Black Amethyst) speaks about ‘prophetic imagination’:

‘I think that we’ve been socialized to make sure that white people are okay. So that we can be okay. And that is a sad, violent way to exist. I’m not interested in doing that anymore. So I’ve been trying to take steps in the other direction. I’m still not sure what that world can fully look like… It feels like something that’s so different than what my experience has been. And it feels like there’s this way in which I’m just waking up to it, being aware of it, seeing it, and trying to figure out how can I exist differently? How can I breathe differently? How can I be differently? How can I be different than what’s been happening – the ways in which I get squished out, or the ways in which I have to almost lop off parts of myself in order to fit into some white, patriarchal structure. Not interested in that anymore.’

microaggressions #racism #patriarchy #feminism #womenofcolor #film #documentary #theinjuredbody #neelumfilms #rochesterny #microaggressionsareracism #microaggressionsarereal