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Spotlight: Marziya Mohammedali

Spotlight: Marziya Mohammedali

Spotlight is a monthly series showcasing work by a member (or member emeritus) of Jalada Africa. Each month, we explore poetry, fiction, nonfiction, photo/video essays, comics, films: it could be anything, as long as it’s produced by a Jaladan. We also highlight their past and present contributions to the Collective, whether editorial, managerial, or organizational.

Marziya Mohammedali is a member of Jalada Africa. They have been the Collective’s Creative Director/Arts Editor since 2014. Marziya is a photographer, poet, educator, designer and artist. They focus on narratives of dissent, identity, migration and transition, and working for social justice through multidisciplinary creative practice. Marziya has documented several protest movements across a wide range of issues, including refugee rights, LGBTIQA+ activism, and anti-racism campaigns, primarily through photography. They seek to explore the spaces that are not always covered in protest art, and share the stories found there.

They are currently based in Boorloo (Perth), Western Australia, undertaking a PhD focusing on Art, Activism and Amplification. Marziya has exhibited in Kenya and Australia, and have been published in Awaaz Magazine, Kwani?, The New Inquiry, and The Guardian amongst others. They have had work showcased at the Human Rights Arts & Film Festival (HRAFF) and the Here&Now/GenYM exhibition, and their work, Call Them Home (2016), has been collected and preserved by the Western Australian Museum. You can follow them online at @kikei (Twitter), @kikeidotnet (Facebook and Instagram)

This month Marziya shares a selection of images from various protests they’ve covered over the last five years. They say:

There’s really no such thing as the ‘voiceless’. There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.” – Arundhati Roy. This quote underpins most of the work I do as a protest photographer. I take photos of protest movements as someone who exists in the spaces in-between. I am on the margins and at the same time part of the protest itself, taking up space as someone who sits at the intersections of so many identities but is still invisible. I am deliberately trying to trouble the idea of what it means to witness, to create images that talk about social justice and the different ways that people protest.

“I want to capture the quiet moments as well as the loud ones. I do this as a way of creating space for otherwise unheard voices to be amplified, to be recognised, to resist. I am interested in looking at what it means to be a witness to resistance, bringing issues around police brutality and deaths in custody to public attention, and how the impact of a global movement is felt locally.”

Check out the rest of their gallery HERE.

Marziya Mohammedali created the internal visuals (fully or in collaboration) in Jalada 00: Sketch of a Bald Woman in the Semi-Nude and Other Stories (2014), Jalada 01: Sext Me Poems and Stories (2014), Jalada 02: Afrofuture(s) (2015), Jalada 03: My Maths Teacher Hates Me and other Stories (2015), Jalada 04: The Language Issue (2015), Jalada 05/Transition 123: Fear (2017), Jalada 07: After + Life (2019) and Jalada 08: Bodies (2019).

They also designed the issue covers for Jalada 04B: The Language Issue (2015), Jalada 07: After + Life (2019) and Jalada Translation Issue 01: Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o (2016). Marziya contributed the photo essay, “Karachi Walls” to Jalada 04: The Language Issue (2015) and “Lines on the Soles of My Feet”, poetography postcards and soundscape work in Jalada 06: Diaspora x DWF, for which they additionally provided project support.

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