Video projection on rice-paper screen, 2005-09, dimensions variable
Video documenting the Judeo-Arabic language spoken by the Jewish community of Baghdad until it was dispersed in the mid-20th century. Five short stories narrate childhood memories of life in Baghdad as remembered by members of the artist's family. Narrated in Judeo-Arabic with English subtitles.
Small Stories in a Language I Don't Understand, 2005-2009
Finding Home, 1998/2015
Installation with collaged rug, video, archival documents, and backgammon game, originally exhibited in 1998 and recreated in 2015. In the collection of the Arab-American National Museum.
Narrative of the artist's father’s journey to the United States and citizenship. The story is told in a wall of framed “family photographs” comprised of story fragments interspersed with artifacts and documents from his legal case. Accompanied by the contents of his FBI file aquired through the Freedom of Information act.
It is a Tree of Life to Those that Hold Fast to It
Installation with video and collaged rug, 1994
A short story of four generations in an American immigrant family.
It is a tree of life to those that hold fast to it, 1994
Family Album, 1992
Installation with collaged rug and artist books
Family Album was created during and just after the 1991 Gulf War to examine and communicate the complexities of a political situation that was tremendously simplified and dehumanized by the media accounts. As an Iraqi-American-Jew with many relatives in the Middle East, I felt extremely involved in the events that took place. At the same time, my situation here in the United States as a passive spectator of the media coverage gave me an odd sense of detachment. I especially experienced the war through the effect it had on my father, who like most of my relatives, was born and grew up in Baghdad. Through him I knew that there was so much that was left out of the media reports-that places referred to as targets were places people lived, worked, or vacationed-were places of pleasant and painful memories. The piece consists of two areas where the viewer may sit and read a book. These face each other across a collaged prayer rug made from newspaper clippings, linoleum, and photocopies. One book focuses on my father's reaction to the war. The other book attempts to put current events into a historical perspective by telling the story of my uncle who was executed by the Iraqi government in 1949.
The Promise is a window installation that was shown at the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, and then at the Broadway Spring Center as part of the Los Angeles Festival's Open Festival. The piece is about immigration, and the replacing of the parent language and culture with the new language/culture. In the piece, a black and white painting of an American flag is hung in a store window, as though on display to be bought. On the window are handwritten translations of the Pledge of Allegiance into various languages overlay with the Pledge of Allegiance in English.
Mixed-media paintings, 1990. Acrylic, oil, wax, photographs, wood veneer and vinyl tile inlay on panels
A group of mixed-media paintings exploring my family's immigrant experience, from Iraq to Indiana. Readymade vinyl flooring is inlayed with photographs and exotic wood veneers to create interwoven and patterned images.
Painted backlit screen with shadows, 1990, Acrylic on plastic sheet, lights, props, 8’x8’
Seemingly a cross between a movie screen and a huge illuminated manuscript; ambiguous shadows are cast from behind onto a large painted screen covered in text.