My practice focuses on the haunting female spectre within Freudian theories, particularly his essay “The Uncanny”. Using film and object-making to resurrect this uncanny feminine identity, I create short films that set out to place the feminine spectre in the forefront of my work and challenge the historical identity of femininity represented in cinema. I have always been drawn to the surreal and dream like and represent this through story telling as a vehicle to push the uncanny narrative.
My most recent project, Shahmaran, explores this theme of monstrous femininity, which stemmed from an interest in Medusa and her representations throughout history. I wanted to explore my heritage of being a half Iraqi woman and came across the Middle Eastern myth of Shahmaran, a half-snake, half-woman creature. The story has many different renditions and is often told differently from person to person and depending on which region in the Middle East. She is traditionally used in imagery such as jewellery and paintings hung in houses, as it’s believed that Shahmaran’s image protects your home from evil. I wanted to take this idea of myth spreading from word of mouth and the fact there isn’t a lot about Shahmaran as an opportunity to insert my own imagination and “facts” into this myth and keeping alive a dying story.