Masricani (American-Egyptian) Muslim sculptor creating works that focus on the perception of identity in a trasncultural atmosphere, women in the middle east and the west and the issues they share, reflections of personal history and remarks on social stigma.
I am of mixed race and culture and have had an interesting experience growing up with a foot in two different worlds. I experience both the United States and Egypt, but never completely belong to either. Because of this lifestyle, I feel somewhat misplaced, or without a home. At the same time, I see this as a wonderful opportunity for observation. This situation has allowed me to adjust to both Western and Middle Eastern cultures so that I can find a sense of familiarity in both, but also opened my mind to accept anything startling about either that I’m not quite accustomed to.
Due to the social stigma associated with my Middle Eastern culture and Muslim religion, I create work that confronts these misconceptions and initiates a conversation through stimulating and relatable work. Through creating and environment of mutual empathy, I am trying to speak to western onlookers and have necessary conversations with Middle Eastern or Muslim audiences. Recent works are exploring the identity politics and cultural protocols while navigating the limbo between my Egyptian heritage and American upbringing through textiles and sculpture.
The materials yield a direct metaphor in regard to the character of women or their actions. I use stone or stone mixes because like women, stone has been present in any society since the beginning. Stone is pinnacle to the foundation of any society as it is strong, diverse, stoic, yet grossly overlooked. The use of bronze relates to the actions of the women. Like her actions, bronze is versatile and beautiful as an art from, but also useful as a weapon or tool outlasting the ones who made it. The use of fabric in my work allows me to make a connection between the viewer and myself in our relation to what is typically “feminine”. In the sense of women’s relationship with fabrics and the Islamic dress code that has essentially become part of the identity of a Muslim woman. I cast the fabric in cement to make the soft, subtle folds and creases in the drapes of the fabric ridged. This application physically becomes the figure instead of enhancing a figure by draping it over the body. With the rough textures and almost gestural approach to these sculptures, I am communicating the aesthetic memories of my culture and the other side of its character.