A Muslim female artist is a rarity in and out of her community, let alone one with performance art experience in school for film. As odd as I am as a performance artist, I am even more of a walking contradiction outside of my community. I have always been a proud Lebanese, part Sierra Leonean immigrant.
Born in Free Town, Sierra Leone in West Africa, I have had the privilege of experiencing a grand mixture of races, places, and things the duniya has to offer, all the while never forgetting where I came from.
I have received a B.A. in Journalism, and an M.A. in Media Ethics. Currently, I’m attending UT Arlington as an MFA candidate in their film and video art program. I’ve always felt a little bit different, a tad out of sorts. Wouldn’t you know it, growing up speaking an African tribal language better than any other language did not help me in making any Muslim friends, the community whose company that I so deeply craved.
A constant questioning of my presence in this artistic space that allowed me to express myself was the beginning of the never-ending journey that comes with being an artist. tweet
Naturally, when faced with adversity, I turned to art. My first love was singing. No one really thought it was the best idea for a Muslim girl to sing, but I did it anyway. I auditioned for a performance art program as a musical theater major. And to everyone’s surprise, I got accepted to the North East School of the Arts.
“How will she ever get married?” one side asked.
“Why is a Muslim girl here, shouldn’t she be, like, covered or something at home?” questioned the other side.
A constant questioning of my presence in this artistic space that allowed me to express myself was the beginning of the never-ending journey that comes with being an artist.
Speak out, sisters, and fight for the life you want. Fight for your hopes and dreams. Because if you don’t, no one else will. tweet
These days, I am happily married and to everyone’s surprise, I am still an artist. I am the living embodiment that “what-ifs” mean little when you’re willing to work with unencumbered determination. That having faith in yourself and your abilities, shutting out the naysayers and working hard towards your goal is so very important to forge a future you can enjoy with unbridled happiness.
Speak out, sisters, and fight for the life you want. Fight for your hopes and dreams. Because if you don’t, no one else will.