Loving Our Queer Hearts: Complices Mentorship Program (2018-2019)

Learning. Loving. Growing.  

As part of my “Loving Our Queer Hearts” project proposal, I have the privilege of being mentored in theatre and sculpting by local artists, thanks to the Montreal, arts interculturels (MAI)’s artist-driven Complices Mentorship Program (a.k.a Alliance Program).

“Loving Our Queer Hearts,” is an artistic exploration project whereby the intersections of Queer and Muslim identities are embraced by furthering my Urdu/Arabic-Persian Script calligraphy through the means of theatre and sculpting.  My main focus is to learn theatre and sculpting-based skills by immersing myself in self-directed and collaborative-based pedagogical art processes vs solely focusing on an end result and product creation.  I trust that this approach will meaningfully inform my art practice and its principles.

Complices is a centre for artistic development and exchange operating within as well as beyond the MAI’s physical premises. Its main aim is to support artists working through specially-designed programs that take into consideration the broad range of artists’ needs, backgrounds, and ways of working (MAI website).

Artist Biography for Complices:

Farha Najah is an anti-racist feminist artist-activist currently based in Tiohtia:ke, unceded Kanien’kehá:ka territory.  Since a young age, she has been interested in the artistic traditions of her South Asian and Muslim background, including Urdu/Arabic-Persian Script (U/APS) calligraphy, while being surrounded by, and engaging in, social justice activism.  This experience informed her to launch an art practice in 2016. More specifically, her own intersecting experiences of queerness, gender, and racialization, and solidarity with others facing systemic oppressions inspired her to develop an art practice that engages with self and collective empowerment, particularly as part of Queer/Trans People of Colour communities. Her art practice has primarily focused on U/APS calligraphy through acrylic paint and tattoo design.  More recently, she has been focusing on U/APS calligraphy while experimenting with body paint, dance, clay, and film. She is currently interested in artistically embracing the intersections of Queer and Muslim identities and imaginations via interdisciplinary artistic processes.

Final project: Loving Our Queer Hearts (“Queer”) and Loving Our Queer Hearts (“Love”). 

Alliance, programme de soutien aux artistes, is financially supported by the Government of Quebec and the City of Montreal as part of l’Entente sur le développement culturel de Montréal, as well as by the Canada Council for the Arts.