Photographer Lamia Khorshid Lifts Veil on Divorce at Curator's Voice Projects
Egypt-born Khorshid shot these self-portraits at the Hotel St. Michel in Coral Gables. She recently spoke with us about the chaotic fallout of divorce, her estrangement from family after marrying outside her culture, thoughts on the future of her homeland, and returning to her roots to document where she was born.
|Lamia Khorshid Wedding Shawl|
|Courtesy of the artist|
Lamia Khorshid: I often make work that draws from personal experience. Divorce and break-ups are a common social occurrence, and if, through this shared experience of heartache we are able to find solace and understanding, then art has successfully functioned to describe the human condition. Unlike Frida Kahlo, I do not feel that we are alone in pain. I make the work because I have a need to, and then I think about sharing the work, if I feel that it has a message that society can relate to.
What's your background?
I was born in Egypt and brought up Muslim. It was not unexpected that my decision to marry someone outside of the Muslim religion would not be met with open arms. It created a rift in my family for many years, and my parents took it very hard. Their first reaction was to stop talking to me for a few years.
I understand that the cultural and religious adjustments were tough on my family, as a result of our migration from the East to the West. Since then, my parents eventually embraced the union, and invited us into their home. It took some growing pains, but we eventually reconciled. By the time I made the work, they had already accepted my marriage; I only wish that we had more time to build upon the new found trust of my family.
|Lamia Khorshid Temporary Resident|
|Courtesy of the artist|
From a feminist perspective, we need to examine marriage from a woman's stance. When a marriage ends, in addition to loss of the relationship, loss of partner, loss of property, loss of trust, loss of a previously envisioned future, (those things are shared loss across gender) there is an additional loss that is the woman's alone: loss of identity.
The social custom in this country is that the woman often takes her husband's last name upon marriage. As a feminist and an independent woman, I thought about this a lot before my wedding day. However I made the claim that a woman's last name is not her own to begin with, we trade our father's last name for our husband's last name. In addition to all the loss, we also have to change our married name back to our maiden name, further confusing the issue of identity. It is very disruptive to our sense of self. In this series, I start re-claiming my territory, and my sense of place and self.