“Visiting Thahab” is a study of the Muslim femme’s presence as an object in contemporary, domestic, and foreign spaces. Vega’s intention is to explore the identity of a Muslim American femme in the post-9/11 diaspora. Vega hides the figure with gold, a color traditionally associated with luxury and masculinity. Both the garment and its symbolism isolate the woman and create tension between her and her surroundings, raising the question of what it means to be assimilated in this day and age. This question holds a sense of urgency in this work, that is necessary, when considering the current political climate and the rise of Islamophobia in the United States and worldwide.

NABEELA VEGA (BANGLADESH/US) is a South Asian gender/queer media artist with an interest in creative organizing. Their expressions utilize photography, performance and moving image to explore post 9/11 narratives that intersect with South Asian diasporic experiences.

Vega maintains the personal is political- which expands the work from an orientalist lens into considering its role in digital, intimate and banal spaces. Aesthetically, these narratives follow several tropes. Most commonly: persona, gold and autobiography, to build and communicate with the viewer.

Their work has been exhibited nationally, internationally & in publications like The Boston Globe, The Washington Post & The Aerogram. Past curatorial projects include RQP: Radical Queer Possibilities & MIX NYC. They are currently cultivating  VIX: Virtual International Exchange. Vega will be Artist in Residence at the Boston Center for the Arts, Fall 2016 and Boston University’s 808 Gallery, Spring 2017.

photos courtesy of the artist