I am a first-generation American, born to Lebanese and Egyptian parents. Growing up as an Arab American in a post-9/11 world presented its own challenges, one of which was navigating incorrect stereotypes. The images that the media portrayed did not match my reality. They did not represent who I was or what my own experience was, and yet, these images were recklessly being shepherded as representing my culture and my heritage. But this was nothing new. Orientalism had already paved the way for mass acceptance of these images; the western eye on the eastern world could never see properly.
In this light, my work explores the invisibility of the Arab American identity and challenges the dominant modes of visualizing Arab lives. Through my own self documentation, I attempt to make my contribution to recording the collective Arab American experience: From how I view pop culture icons and images to traditional Arab cultural symbols, my work attempts to capture the duality of this lived reality.