One of Yumna Al-Arashi’s newsletters popped up today. They’re irregular, but well worth the subscription click.
I’m stealing a quote from the new one:
For many years, I’ve been creating self-portraiture as a means, not only, for expressing myself, but also, to take ownership of my body when it so often feels as though it is not my own. There’s a need to claim women’s bodies and the act of using it as a tool for expression feels like an act of defiance.
Photography became my freedom. I could define myself, through all of my selves. My decision to photograph myself was my most political act. I am presenting how I’d like to be seen to the world, on my own terms. I am protesting media’s representation of those like me. I am protesting identity in itself.
The funny thing I’ve learned about identity is that it does not exist in one dimension. It is evolving, confused, colorful, nonsensical, and weird. It surely isn’t just a token. I could never fully explain Identity to you because it simply has no real weight. The more I feed into the notion of it, the less it makes sense. And so, I wonder why we always keep the question of identity at the forefront of our minds in the first place.
How can we fairly represent one another without exploiting each others mere humanity? I so often carry these questions with me through every project of mine, openly admitting that I do not have the answers. Reminding us all: what is most important is that we are asking them.