Clench My Fists (2020)
single channel video
My work focuses on the juxtaposition between subjective and objective emotionality, navigating daily life with mental illness, the individual’s relationship to pop culture, and decolonizing Western understandings of the SWANA (South West Asian/North African, aka the Middle East) region and Arab Americans. The living embodiment of the correlation between chronic depression and binge-watching practices, my work appropriates and manipulates “profound but overlooked” moments from movies, music videos, and the internet. My work also explores the concept of “inherited grief;” that through biological or behavioral means, trauma is passed down through prospective family generations so that family members might experience the residual effects of trauma they did not personally witness.
Specifically, my work focuses on how the death of my Arab American grandfather caused ripples of mental illness and skewed racial identity through my paternal family. My work draws inspiration from the SWANA cinema, music, and pattern design that I have used to access my Arab identity outside of contexts of my family and imperialist misconceptions to create abstract works that hopefully promote the beauty and complexity of my culture and people.
© Sarah Trad