It took me about forty years to become an artist. Before that, I was dropped on my head, migrated twice, was a campaigner-journalist on environmental issues, and completed a PhD in Architecture which included a post-colonial and critical view of urban planning and the development of new modes of field research and engaged photography. Before that, I studied Art History, teaching, and critical & curatorial studies. I have taught in several universities, and then as part of my practice created a not-for-profit art organisation – The Socially Engaged Art Salon - which promotes socially engaged art and artists from underrepresented communities. I got married, have two charming dogs, and have received death threats because of some of my artworks.
When I was asked once in a job interview what I do as an artist I replied “trouble”. I didn’t get the job but since then I have got to show my work at Tate Britain, Turner Contemporary, in front of the Parliament House, at the South Bank Centre, at the People’s History Museum, in Zion Sq. in Tel-Aviv from where I was evicted by the police, on a rooftop of Detroit’s deserted train station, and in many other galleries and museums in the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Israel-Palestine and South Africa.
My art is based on my lived experiences of intersectionality as a migrant, person of colour, and neurodivergent queer. My art is research-based and the projects I do are often created through engagement with other people and communities who have similar experiences.
I am a lens-based and installation artist but as a socially engaged transdisciplinary artist, I adapt my practice and the media I used to suit the communities I work with and the various settings -, museums and galleries, artists’ residencies, schools and communities centres, festivals and the streets. My work has resulted in outdoor public art, large-scale room installations, multimedia presentations, collaborative photoshoots, agitprops and creative workshops. But the place where I felt most at home was when I was working with children of two houseless families in the Arab-Jewish Camp for Social Justice in Jaffa.
More recently when I was asked what my art is about, I said it is about a lot of things but what it is about is less important to me than what it does. In a world where so many people are marginalised, displaced and excluded, I hope my art makes a place.