Gazelle Samizay's performance and photography reflects on tradition and the bonds between women in a family.
In Upon My Daughter several women collectively embroider the wedding dress of a young bride as she wears it. Each thread and stitch symbolizes one piece of advice the young bride is given. Individually, the threads are very delicate, but amassed together their strength becomes visible, symbolizing the powerful, yet complicated bonds between the women in this family.
I use video and photography to immerse the viewer in imagined narratives inspired by my reality. As an audio-visual medium, video allows me to reveal unspoken stories buried in cultural silences. I often use a female protagonist to question the burden of cultural and gendered expectations. Memories are reinterpreted and performed to explore the world of an Afghan-American woman, touching on both the personal and sociopolitical. By performing these rituals within the diaspora, I investigate how traditions may be perpetuated, reconfigured or challenged in new locales. Photos often accompany the videos as snapshots of the experience, at times pausing traumas in time to allow for reflection. This artistic process serves as a testimonial, where my inner conversations become public. It allows me to express myself independent of cultural definitions and constraints.