I D K I S S U E 5
Seven PhotoPoems: Finding God in a Hollowed City
Born in Lahore, Pakistan, I currently reside in New York City where I am both enthralled and distressed by its overstimulated urbanscape. “Finding God in a Hollowed City,” a series of PhotoPoems, captures a seeking, a finding, and a settling for a self-defined solace from a physical, emotional, and political displacement one might experience as an individual.
Finding God in a Hollowed City
The photographs consist of 35mm black and white film printed on 8x10 fibre paper. They are then treated as an object as well as a subject for ekphrasis. Instead of the verses being written separately, they are written on top of the photographs with the use of black and white ink. They engage as works of ekphrasis for they are inspired by their images but can also be identified as visual hybrid poems.
4th of July, I was At War
I identify myself as a hybrid creating hybrid art through hybrid forms. Most, if not all, of my visual work involves text and is heavily informed by my practice in poetry. Hybridity, for me, is an identified space which adheres to an existence as well as a celebration of something that is unconventional and, therefore, possesses more than a single definitive Oneness.
My work feeds on a mindset that gives birth to a process that is inclusive of many possibilities. It often resonates with my outlook on a society that is always in celebration of a conventional mindset, making whatever is different feel disagreeable, marginalized, or Othered. My photographs are documentation of a cityscape which is dense and busy. They have a presence of a scavenger scavenging for solace, familiarity, or characteristics that resembles one of a rescuing merciful god.
Balancing on a Dirty Picture
The verses resemble a stream of consciousness yet embodies an objective observation that takes turn towards the personal. They are written the way they are intended to be read: in a pattern that is not linear but exhaustively catering towards the perception of the reader. Maybe my desire is for the audience to pause and stare, to be able to find words they can understand, and some others they are unable to decipher at all, to be able to connect or find a common theme, or to be able to create their own verses in the process of finding some sense.
In My Language, There is a Lot of Calling Home
In my desire, stopping and pausing to acknowledge what is not conventional is my way of asking to consider possibilities where Hybridity, both in identity, writing, and art, is a gateway towards inclusivity and artistic progress.
Looking for God in a Hallowed City
I graduated from Bennington College in Visual Arts (Film and Animation) and Creative Writing (Poetry and Playwriting) in 2018. I am currently a Margins Fellow at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop. I like table tennis, chickpeas, and black tea with milk brewed over the stove for three minutes.
Ayesha Raees identifies herself as a hybrid creating hybrid art through hybrid forms. Her work strongly revolves around issues of identity, class, and race while possessing a strong agency for accessibility, education, and change. Raees cultivates relationships between the word and the image through theatrical performance, filmic visual imagery, and documentary photography. Raees can be found online at www.ayesharaees.com, on instagram, and on twitter.