New Art Dealers Alliance
Yasmine Nasser Diaz, For Your Eyes Only, 2021
2-channel video and installation
"For Your Eyes Only" (2021) is the latest iteration of an ongoing series of bedroom installations using domestic space to explore third culture identity, the systemic oppression of women, and feminist activisms in the Global South and its diaspora. Diaz’s everygirl’s room setting is a pink teenager’s bedroom featuring gently pulsating lights, a rose-colored disco ball that shines upon the contents of the space: a bed, a vanity mirror and a glaring pink neon light in the shape of an “evil eye.” On the floor are objects one would expect to see at a protest spilling out of a backpack: protective eye goggles, a megaphone, a small first aid kit, a water bottle, sanitizer and an ACLU pocket ‘know your rights’ booklet. Projected on the wall is a video of women and non-binary individuals dancing freely in their private spaces and archival footage of political speeches and manifestations, and an original minimalist house track by the Beirut-based DJ, Carol Abi Ghanem. The setting serves as a reference to the domestic space where the social conditioning (of 'eib') begins. عیب / eib is not easily translated into English. Saleem Haddad describes the term in the novel Guapa, ‘the closest word for eib in English is perhaps ‘shame.’' Young women and gender queer persons from SWANA (South West Asia and North Africa) communities risk blackmail and psychological abuse through the threat of publicizing recordings such as these videos, where they are showing their bodies in ways that could be deemed immodest. A second video features a documentary-style montage of news clips featuring women-led political rallies from around the Global South woven alongside speeches by political figures from the 1950s up to the present. Diaz’s installation presents a layered constellation of interrelated realities across borders, identities and eras that have the potential to align along intersectional and transnational movements of solidarity. Such acts of intersectional artistic social practice are at the core of healing traumas and strengthening the bonds between female and non-binary diasporic communities.