My work as a visual artist and curator is rooted in a social practice exploring the concept of home as it manifests within bodies, built environments, and communities. Photographic self-portraiture, collaboration, and space-making intersect while I interpret then disseminate my experience of coming home to my body and the world as a trans-masculine queer immigrant. In my most recent works, I overlap space-making with portraiture when I share space with subjects and co-create with them. By reconsidering the right to look; the paradoxes of representation, access, and privacy collide as I pursue the right to love and feel comfortable in my own body.
I break bread with the people I photograph. By sharing domestic space, we build the trust and intimacy necessary to create work that depicts their story. I share the ownership and rights of every image included in the archive with my collaborators. The collaborative methods of creation in this project defy imperialist assumptions of the ownership of images as something that is inherently the photographer’s. Together, we create, communicate, and own our individual and collective narratives.
In 2017, I founded Habibi House, a neighborhood-based community art space and social engagement residency in Detroit. Through this model, I invited artists, curators, and individuals across communities to engage in the process of collectively reimagining home outside of traditional institutional structures. Expanding my practice to encompass the ways I live and love, I invite my communities to become part of my practice, rather than subjects of my practice. Through my practice I strive to produce work that encourages us to question the ethics of the tools we utilize and constantly investigate the assumptions, exploitations, and impact of our mediums.
My current work examines the ways belonging and exclusion overlap in the trans Muslim community. Through photographing myself and other trans Muslims, I navigate the complexities of gender, sexuality, religion, and ethnicity, exploring how built environments and communities—even spaces that seem like home—can systematically negate, challenge, discipline, and surveil trans, brown, and queer bodies.