Global citizen

Tension is felt between East and West in Qatari-American artist’s Whitney museum debut

The Whitney

Sophia Al-Maria bridges the distance between two worlds. Growing up traveling back and forth between her mother’s childhood home in Washington state and her father’s hometown in Qatar, she learned to go back and forth between Western and Middle Eastern cultures and norms, and it was in Qatar that she fell in love with art and culture.

“I would listen to pop music on the radio that I didn’t hear in the States, I would have access to technology, to video games, to pirated films, to Indian and Chinese and European stuff. I felt very much that that was where I wanted to be, and when I came back to the States, it was like the same TLC song being played on repeat,” Al-Maria told The Guardian.

Now, Al-Maria has an art exhibit of her own opening at the Whitney museum in New York, showing off her sculpture and filmmaking. She’s also written a memoir, The Girl Who Fell to Earth. Her art reflects her ongoing struggle with both of her cultures, including the dystopian feel of ultra-modern Gulf cities. And though she avoids overtly religious questions, her shows still attract conversations about Islam.

“They’re titillated, let’s face it,” she told The Guardian. “They hate it and they’re titillated. That’s the gross thing, the thing that must be defused.”

Read the full story at The Guardian.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *