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

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

The Warp & Weft – Seventh Set of Stories

4 new Warp & Weft stories today, including a stunning poem by Deema Shehabi, a story in Urdu about the meaning of life by Ayesha Javed, another about the books and people that shape us by Cathy Salibian, and a look at physics and the nature of reality by Shamoun Murtza. Finally, a beautiful musical response by Tom Davis. Listen and read here.

Repost from Rochester Contemporary Art Center:

You can now experience the newest set of stories from The Warp & Weft archive at maraahmedstudio.com

At Cathedral Grove: A Treatise on Vanishing by Deema K. Shehabi
Afternoon dialects beneath a redwood canopy: two children skip ahead; their feet grind the ground, crushing ferns, tearing tenebrous skulls of leaves. They giggle, while a vanishing world lies ahead of them. The spot where the sun abandons is where the light hangs briefly beneath a shoulder blade, then spreads. [Photo: Omar F. Khorsheed]

The Purpose of Life by Ayesha Javed
We are living in strange times. Hundreds of thousands of people have left this world on account of the pandemic. Their lives were just as valuable as yours or mine. This should be a moment of deep reflection for all of us.

The Right Words by Cathy Salibian
My oldest book is a small red hardcover of David Copperfield. I was maybe twelve years old when my father reached to a shelf in his study, pulled down that book and said to me a little shyly, “I see that you like to read. Maybe you will like this. I read it when I was just a little older than you.” [Photo: Kate Kressmann-Kehoe]

If A Tree Falls In The Forest by Shamoun Murtza
I’ll start with the disclaimer that I am not a Ph.D. My formal education in Physics reached its zenith with my concentration in Applied Physics for my bachelor’s degree. But I never stopped searching for the truth about the nature of our universe. Listen at your own risk, you have been warned.

The Sound Of Falling by Tom Davis: A musical response to the archive

The Warp & Weft: Sixth Set of Stories

4 new Warp & Weft stories today! A story in Urdu about the joys of volunteering by Fabeha Fazal, another about the solace of seclusion by Allyson Perkins, a story about lessons learned from the #BLM uprising by Nate Baldo, and one about the congregation of community and what we can learn from queer elders by Shirly Bahar. Finally, a gorgeous dance response by María José Rodríguez-Torrado. Listen, read, watch here.

Repost from Rochester Contemporary Art Center:

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

My Story In My Own Words by Fabeha Fazal
I would like to share some life experiences with you that might be worth sharing. I was born in Delhi and brought up in Aligarh. My dad was a professor at Aligarh Muslim University. We were raised with the idea that life had two important goals: acquiring the highest education possible and savoring the best food.

Consolation in Isolation by Allyson Perkins
Reticent was a word my mom used to describe me. I remember she said it with ease as if it were just a matter of fact. She was speaking to my kindergarten teacher who had growing concerns about my ability to socialize. [Photo: Rebekah Ostrander]

A Moral Reckoning by Nathaniel Baldo
The ongoing Black Lives Matter uprising has helped further my recognition of the depth of structural racism and bigotry here in Rochester and across the country. I grew up in Brighton, New York, an adjacent, relatively affluent suburb. I’ve tried to take time and reflect on messages and boundaries that were taught from an early age… [Photo: Adam Eaton]

February 2020: On Fire by Shirly Bahar
February 2021 marks 1 year since we last went to the movies. Remember going to the movies – that act of coming together as an audience, a short-term congregation of community, to share the experience of spectatorship for a couple of hours. On this one year anniversary, I am reflecting back on that experience, trying to retrieve what we have taken with us, as well as left behind us, on our last night so far at the movie theater.

Nostalgia (longing) by María José Rodríguez-Torrado: A dance response to the archive

Islamic Feminisms, Alternative Lifeworlds, Decoloniality

Dear friends, next week, on April 14 at 10:25 am EST, I will be teaching U of R students an online class on ‘Islamic Feminisms, Alternative Life-worlds, Decoloniality.’ Tanya, whose class I am teaching, has been kind enough to open it up to everyone. My presentation will have some kick-ass ideas (articulated by kick-ass women like Alia Al-Saji, Saba Mahmood, and Francoise Verges). It will have stunning artwork created by POCs and video clips that will spark an interesting discussion. I am linking to some of the reading materials in comments. Pls let me know if you’d like to join us and I will send you the zoom link as soon as we have one. Hope you can make it!

Twenty Years Since 9/11: An Activist Filmmaker’s Take

Although I’ve written for the Socialist Worker, Mondoweiss, Counterpunch, Mason Street and other publications, I had never written for an academic journal before. The wonderful Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt changed all that when she asked me to be part of a segment she was curating for South Asian Review, for the upcoming 20th Anniversary of 9/11. The full print issue, with essays by Mohamad Junaid, Deepa Kumar, Maimuna Islam and myself, will be out in December.

Here is my piece, written from the perspective of an activist filmmaker and someone who tries to unpack Islamophobia. I so appreciate Reshmi’s curation (her excellent introduction is here) and her willingness to open up the conversation and hear from culture-makers. I enjoyed working on this short piece even though citations are a killer:) It’s almost 20 years since 9/11…

“I became an activist in the run-up to the war on Iraq. The Bush administration’s battle cry was transparently depraved and indifferent to facts or anti-war protests. Mainstream media became obsessed with Islam and Muslims even before the War on Terror hit its stride. They dispensed images and soundbites surreal in their exaggerated reincarnations, ripped from their political contexts, and glued to the air we were breathing. It became hard to read the news or negotiate a cultural milieu choked by anti-Muslim bigotry.” More here.

The Warp & Weft – Fifth Set of Stories

4 new stories from the Warp & Weft including a poem by Shadia Nilforoush, a story about ableism, isolation and risk-taking by Luticha A Doucette, a story from Belgium by Pascale Lorette, and another about the importance of touch by Roberta Schwartz Arlo Baldo. Finally, a beautiful response to the archive by Kirin Makker. Listen, read, engage with art and stories from the human family here.

Repost from Rochester Contemporary Art Center:

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

An Identity in Tendrils by Shadia Heenan Nilforoush
Chota Bhai, my baby brother
His skin is four shades – possibly seven – darker than mine. [Photo: Luke Seward]

Risk by Luticha Andre Doucette
In the beforetimes, I took a risk. Social isolation is not something that is new to me as a disabled person. When I think back on the course of my life, the majority of it has been spent in isolation. This isolation is due to no fault of my own, it is just a function of ableism in this country. [Photo: Erica Jae]

Coronavirus, l’épidémie à nos portes par Pascale Lorette
Coronavirus, the epidemic at our doorstep by Pascale Lorette: I should also mention those magical moments, every evening at 8 p.m., throughout Belgium, when we would meet at our windows or on our terraces to applaud healthcare workers. What beautiful sharing, what an emotion! [Artwork: Sam Sam]

It’s About The Touch by Roberta Schwartz
While sewing those masks made from delicately woven fabric as filmy as a cobweb, I felt the presence of the Jewish tailors and seamstresses who came before me in my family, and the textile workers in Hebron, who struggle to survive. [Photo: Adam Eaton]

Touch by Kirin Makker: An artistic response to the archive

The Warp & Weft is a multilingual archive of stories that seeks to capture the 2020 zeitgeist. The archive is curated by interdisciplinary artist and activist filmmaker @mara__ahmed. A set of new stories will be released each week via RoCo and Mara’s social media, during the course of ‘Last Year on Earth.’

The Warp & Weft – Fourth Set of Stories

4 new warp & weft stories today including one from gaza (palestine) by Ashwaq Auf, one from the gambia by Khadee’ja Fatty, another from toronto by way of london by Amra Jamal-Ahmad, and one about healing the collective body by Michael Boucher. finally a beautiful poetic response to the archive by Andrea Anderson Gluckman. pls read and listen.

Repost from Rochester Contemporary Art Center:

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

Harsher Than War by Ashwaq Abualoof
The feeling of being isolated from the outside world because we live in the cage of the Gaza Strip has become a feeling of impenetrability, as if we are immune to the spread of the coronavirus. [Photo: Soltan Khaled]

Pay It Forward by Kaddijatou Fatty
My keen interest in the performing arts, as a tool for social development in The Gambia, has motivated me to pursue training in the arts. Since 2011, I have received intensive training in acting, speech and voice production, singing, stage management and scriptwriting. I have discovered that the arts are a much more effective means of communicating with people, especially when working with children and youths.

Wistful While I Work by Amra Jamal-Ahmad
I have been a commuter for my entire working life. That’s 32 years of trains, subway trains and buses getting me to my job in the city. For 27 years that city was London, England, and now since 2016, it is Toronto, Canada.

Our Body is Trying to Heal by Mike Boucher
I have been reflecting on healing and hope in recent years, in part because my work as a social worker and counselor immerses me in this conversation on a daily basis. [Photo: Lynne Boucher]

“wadi” by andrea a. gluckman: A poetic response to the archive

Listen to/read the full stories here.

The Warp & Weft is a multilingual archive of stories that seeks to capture the 2020 zeitgeist. The archive is curated by interdisciplinary artist and activist filmmaker @maraahmed. A set of new stories will be released each week via RoCo and Mara’s social media, during the course of ‘Last Year on Earth.’

The Warp & Weft on Reclaiming the Narrative

Dear all, Reclaiming the Narrative has been kindly broadcasting some of the Warp & Weft stories as the last segment of their weekly show on WXIR (Fridays at 1pm and Saturdays at 7:30am) and on WAYO (Saturdays at 4pm and Sundays at 7pm).
All their shows are available on Soundcloud. Last Friday (March 19) they shared ‘El Lenguaje es mi Tierra, mi Identidad’ by Tania Day-Magallon, the Friday before (March 12), they aired ‘Celebrate With Me’ by Erica Bryant, and finally, on Friday, March 5, they shared ‘Black Futures Matter’ by Quajay Donnell. Thank you RTN for sending these powerful stories out in the world via multiple channels.

The Warp & Weft – Third Set of Stories

4 new warp & weft stories today including one from kashmir by Akmal Hanan, one about post world war II germany from ireland by Renate Debrun, a powerful poem by Selena Fleming, a raw, courageous story by Annette Ramos, and a beautiful dance response by Alaina Olivieri. pls listen and watch here.

Repost from Rochester Contemporary Art Center:

Today the third set of stories from the Warp & Weft archive launch! Head over to maraahmedstudio.com and listen to:

Because Every Goliath Meets Its David by Selena Fleming
I’m fresh off the boat—the one fashioned from ramparts of a journey laden with trauma, ugly-fulfilling prophecies, can’t-get-it-together tendencies and shoulders that have borne more than any one person should ever be allowed to bear.

If Mountains Were Oceans by Akmal Hanan
The world has seven continents and more than 190 countries, but destiny decreed that I was born in a landlocked country called Kashmir. [Photo: Shahnawaz Shah]

COVID Rebirth by Annette Ramos
Two years before COVID-19 spread around the world I was already facing one of the biggest challenges of my life. My creative life was in transformation.

Gertrud by Renate Debrun
In old family photographs I sometimes catch a glimpse of her: a stolid, middle-aged woman always in the background or at the margins. All that remains of her life now is in a small cardboard box in my sister’s attic: some papers, postcards, photographs, a bible. This is Gertrud. [Photo: Raymond Deane]

Empty Spaces by Alaina Olivieri: A dance response to the archive

Listen to/read the full stories at maraahmedstudio.com
The Warp & Weft is a multilingual archive of stories that seeks to capture the 2020 zeitgeist. The archive is curated by interdisciplinary artist and activist filmmaker Mara Ahmed (@mara__ahmed). A set of new stories will be released each week via RoCo and Mara’s social media, during the course of ‘Last Year on Earth.’

My art video ‘Le Mot Juste’ is here

My experimental/art video is here! Check out Le Mot Juste along with 20 other works of art! I created this piece out of footage shot by Rajesh Barnabas and a dance performance by Mariko Yamada and Cloria Sutton <3

Enter the Diasporic Rhizome to experience the works of 21 artists who are reexamining our histories, commenting on current social issues, and dreaming of new realities. The collective works in this virtual exhibition use innovation and imagination as change agents where the digital space becomes the apparatus for community building, challenging the world around us to transform and address our growing needs.

The 21 participating artists in Diasporic Rhizome were selected from an open call by the following jury: Faisal Anwar, Ambika Trasi, Brendan Fernandes. (Ambika Trasi curated the Salman Toor exhibition that I loved at the Whitney Museum)

Diasporic Rhizome is produced by South Asia Institute.

The Warp & Weft – Second Set of Stories

4 more stories today, including one in Spanish, and a 3-part artistic response by Andrea Vazquez-Aguirre Kaufmann! Stories by Tania Day-Magallon, Erica Bryant, Darien Lamen and Charlotte Clarke. Listen here and pls ‘refresh’ if it takes time to load.


El Lenguaje es mi Tierra, mi Identidad por Tania Day-Magallon
Language is my Land, my Identity by Tania Day-Magallon: Language is my land, my home, my mother; and these three elements are feminine in Spanish. When you strip me of my language, it takes away my form of expression. A part of me and my Divine Feminine is left bone-dry. My identity is not only changed – I migrate out of myself and end up farther away from home, which is already physically distant, on the other side of the wall.

Celebrate With Me by Erica Bryant
I have one photograph of my great grandfather, Roscoe Foster. He is sitting in a rocking chair, on the porch of his home in Columbia, Mississippi, with a black dog. Family says that when the Ku Klux Klan was riding near, he would sit on that porch with a shotgun.

Time Travelers by Charlotte Clarke
Time. It is stamped upon our birth certificate upon arrival and upon our death certificate at departure. It is also the container for everything in between.

A Cover Story by Darien Lamen
Sometimes I feel like a ghost, haunting the ruins of respectable society. My name is Darien Lamen, PhD. But Lamen isn’t my real name – it’s a cover story.

A Three-Part Response to the Archive by Andrea Vazquez-Aguirre Kaufmann: A dance and video response

The Warp & Weft is a multilingual archive of stories that seeks to capture the 2020 zeitgeist. The archive is curated by interdisciplinary artist and activist filmmaker Mara Ahmed. A set of new stories will be released each week via RoCo and Mara’s social media, during the course of ‘Last Year on Earth.’