In my research-based multidisciplinary practice, I focus on material culture and social phenomena involving Black Muslims in the United States, and the role of Afrofuturism in Black folks’ daily lives, theorized by Martine Syms as Mundane Afrofuturism. Through these themes I explore the nuances of duality existing within Black people and Black Muslims, as well as the intertwining nature of all living things, rooted in the philosophy that everything is connected. My work often takes the form of relief printmaking, digital storytelling, or participatory installations, involving text and various mediums such as stamps, clay, textiles, and augmented reality. Mundane Afrofuturism is most prominent in my social practice of collaborative art-making and consciousness-raising facilitated sessions, as well as narrative podcasting, which requires script-writing, casting, directing, and audio editing.
Leading up to my conceptual artmaking practice, I was enamored with the idea of liminal space and the possibilities presented by that freedom of the in-between. I began to create several artworks that involved the traversing of physical, emotional, and mental space. This fascination with the in-between, or existing as both, grew into the prevalence of dual concepts in my work, including fiction and nonfiction, sacred and profane, and double consciousness (as theorized by W.E.B. Du Bois).
Early in my ongoing incorporation of academic theory into my practice, I came across Bruce Nauman's troubling 1967 statement, “The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths,” which often led me to question my own status as a “true artist.” For many months I imagined a moment in which I opened my third eye to reach a sort of philosophical enlightenment about what these “mystic truths” were. Over a year later, I learned that Nauman said about his statement, “on the one hand [it’s] a totally silly idea and yet, on the other hand, I believed it. It’s true and not true at the same time.” While it’s amusing to know that this statement that affected me at such a pivotal point in my art career isn’t as serious as I believed it to be, it was a fitting reminder. All along, this idea of coexistence and duality—like his both “true and not true”—has been constant in my work, and identity as a Black Muslim woman in the U.S.
Bruce Nauman, The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths, 1967