A New Era

This project is an investigation of queerness, gender questioning, intimacy, openness, acceptance and nudity.
After long years of body shaming, I’m finally moving into a process of self-love and acceptance with my body and my queerness since fleeing the war in Syria to the Netherlands in 2014.
Embracing and allowing myself to feel all the different sides of me has been a powerful and magical journey towards liberation, further integrating me into Dutch culture and entering my art practice into an ongoing contemporary interrogation of the body.
Through an online open call I shared on my Instagram account, I received many messages from interested people who are on the same journey as me and want to share their stories with the outside world.
The participants are between 22 and 41 years old, from diverse gender identities, ethnicities and backgrounds, centering different perspectives, ideas and thoughts on queerness.
For this research I worked with a diverse group of 10 participants who identify themselves as queer; the participants- who come from different parts of the Netherlands but mainly from Amsterdam- were invited to my studio to talk about our shared journey towards liberation.
I seek to build a dialogue that allows for a wider acceptance of diversity and equality in our Dutch society. By sharing queer stories with a larger public both online and physically at exhibitions, I aim to spread awareness on this important topic of our everyday life.
The session was approximately 4/5 hours, starting with an open and honest conversation about our experiences as queers. With the agreement of the participant the session will be recorded as research towards the writing I did on each contributor. I have prepared a few questions and notes to guide the session, like the age, preferred pronoun, how they identify themselves, the environment they grew up with, their relationship with their bodies, their sexuality and gender identity. I also shared my story and journey as well as a back-and-forth conversation and dialogue. They were free to ask me what they want or share with me what they feel comfortable with.
The participants could decide wither they want to use their real names for the research or to choose an anonymous name that represents their Queer Era.
Later on I took few polaroid photos of their full scale bodies, faces, and close up pictures of body details, after the conversation. I created 2 paintings of each participant using the polaroids as references for the produced paintings.
The idea of transforming a tiny polaroid photo to a large scale painting is my metaphor to put a spot light on hidden stories in our Dutch society, revealing many vulrunable experiences as well as powerful ones.
Through different mediums and layers, I am trying to understand each participant’s story by talking to them, photographing them, writing a text about them and creating a painting that presents their queer era. Artistically this project has a theme of self- transformation and the philosophy of queerness through post-colonial practice.
This project was made possible with the generous support of the AFK, Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst.