Life of Mohammad
Maryam Monalisa Gharavi
Maryam Monalisa Gharavi’s Life of Mohammad constructs a fictional single life from the lives of seven real people named Mohammad. Conceived as a multi-channel video and installation, the work follows the unfolding of ordinary lives held together by the world’s most common—and least culturally understood—name. The project will take shape through a series of prismatic forms, in which separate refracted parts act as one whole. Life of Mohammad will include public programs, film/video, domestic physical objects, clothing, portraiture, oral history, publication, and a curated library and film archive. The public will be invited to engage through open casting sessions, an interactive installation, and a seven-channel video.
Life of Mohammad is foreshadowed by ongoing dystopian political trauma in the U.S., heightened since 2001. Under the banner of ‘less freedom for some, more security for all,’ men and boys with Muslim names were held subject to the degradation of civil and human rights, including unwarranted deportation, encroaching government surveillance, and negative mediated stereotypes. In the current moment, Executive Order 13769, titled Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States (or the “Muslim ban”) further encodes an Enemy-Other whose names, ethnic origins, and sartorial choices undergo unjust scrutiny. By re-conceptualizing the ordinary as extraordinary and uniting them by a single name, Gharavi illustrates the cost of flattening Othered subjects.
On view: November 11, 2023–January 25, 2024
Marcela Torres and Assembly
September 14–November 10, 2023
KING COBRA and Hue Hallums