My skin rips open, and in the crevices stories spill out about growth, nurture, and battle; flowers begin to grow into my flesh as they root my ancestral memories into my skin, etching their stories along with my body as a record of their journey. My form changes often; it is pulling, stretching, and morphing to fill out and mold myself into my feminine, all while it defends its presence in an atmosphere of oppression, hypervisibility, and spectacle. My recent practice has been focused on materializing my experience relocating from Oman to the US and transitioning while doing so. Connecting to my ancestral memory as a way to process trauma has been instrumental in realizing my practice, and I use this as a strategy to direct my ideation.
I am a garment maker and textile artist creating attire rooted in metaphors of armor or second skin. I create based on an amalgamation of topics referencing colonialism, gender, sexuality, and heritage; the implied bodies iterated in garment and textile to represent luxury, trade, objectification, and sexuality. Through exploring natural fabrics passing through the Colonial Asian trade route, East India Company (silks and wools) and mechanizing forms of production (knitwear) I begin to contextualize my materials through processing cloth and fiber. Using resist dye, low immersion dye techniques, and surface manipulation I test the rigidity of the fabric, thus testing its likelihood as armor or second skin. My hand is apparent is most of the works I create, as often the pieces pass through my gaze multiple times before they are exhibited in their final format.
Each theme is explored through an intersectional lens –that of being an immigrant trans woman of color in the United States– and in doing so raises questions about rigid cultural society, and gender/sexual taboo. Exploration of themes is done in a variety of media and processes, including: pattern making, weaving, dyeing, silkscreen, and draping. Through each technique I explore material and create tangible manifestations of concept which would be further applied to the garment. My practice serves to work as a resistance to cisheteropatriarchal standards of living through confronting viewers on the connective trauma trans women of color face; in addition to reclaiming a luxury and trope of beauty which is inherently ours.