Present Tense
My father’s family is from Syria, originally from a town in the northwest called Mashta al-Helu, from which I bear my last name. Looking for ways to voice my despair over violence in the Middle East, I started to produce works claiming my own Arab roots. This body of work was first conceived after I saw news footage of blindfolded Syrian men being tossed off high buildings by ISIS because of their perceived sexual orientation. The project explores my identity in relation to my Syrian heritage and Arab ethnicity. It is a conceptual investigation of the frictions that emerge at the intersection of Middle-Eastern lineage and queerness.

This is an ongoing autobiographical exploration of my own internalized feelings about homophobia while addressing the complexities and stereotypes of my immigrant heritage.
Holding a tintype of myself
I commissioned Kari Orvik, a San Francisco photographer specialized in producing tintype, to make a portrait of me.