Yasmine Nasser Diaz is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice navigates overlapping tensions around religion, gender, and third-culture identity. Her recent work includes immersive installation, fiber etching, and mixed media collage using personal archives and found imagery.
Born in Chicago to Yemeni parents, her upbringing encompassed a complicated relationship with Islam and the patriarchal social norms in their community, and the boundary-pushing icons of 80’s and 90’s Western pop culture.
I fled a pending forced arranged marriage, religious conservatism, and oppressive misogyny. These are not tidy topics to discuss in today’s society. Right-wing media eagerly uses them to incite xenophobia but dialogue that challenges misogyny remains crucial. My current work lives in this terrain.
In her current exhibition “soft powers: A Solo Exhibition by Yasmine Nasser Diaz” on display at the Arab American National Museum, she reflects on coming-of-age nostalgia and Yemeni American girlhood. This exhibition features never before shown fiber etchings and a site-specific installation that is a continuation of her “Teenage Bedroom” series. Diaz addresses subjects familiar to many children of immigrants including code-switching, plural identities and conflicting loyalties.
At that age there was often a feeling of being hyper surveilled and some days for communities there can be a sense of communal obligation to protect young girls who are becoming women but for us as teenagers there was a fine line between protection and control. With this work I wanted to focus on those moments when we were amongst each other and not having to worry about who might be watching.
Although the Museum is currently closed, experience a video preview of the exhibition below, with behind the scenes shots and commentary by Diaz.
To refer to Yasmine a fighter is truly an understatement, as she pushes boundaries, empowers, and paves the way for creative women constrained by convention and eager to overcome social expectations.
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