Closeup of Arshia Fatima Haq
Arshia Fatima Haq

Los Angeles-based artist Arshia Fatima Haq will deliver the 2020 Jo Hockenhull Distinguished Visiting Lecture in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Washington State University on Thursday, March 5, at 4:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Building Auditorium, room 5062. The lecture is titled “Entering the Psychedelic Islamic State: From Discostan to Sama and the Sonic Ummah.” A reception will follow.

Through social practice, video, sound, and performance, Haq works with archives and aesthetic production rooted in the Muslim world that have been marginalized both within conservative Islam and in the Western imagination.

Haq is interested in counter-archives, speculative documentaries, and the blurred lines between fact and fiction, and she is currently exploring themes of embodiment and mysticism. Her dynamic body of work stems from the complexities of inhabiting multiple personas – woman, Muslim, immigrant, citizen – and is conceptualized in feminist modes outside of the Western model. Narrative threads include migration, celebration, warfare, nostalgia, homeland, and borders, often within realms of Islamic influence, through both traditional forms and kaleidoscopic reinventions via pop culture.

Arshia Fatima Haq’s work has been featured at Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson, the Station Museum of  Contemporary Art, Broad Museum, LACE, Toronto International Film Festival, MOMA New York, Hammer Museum, LAXArt, Centre Georges Pompidou, and the Pacific Film Archive. She hosts and produces monthly radio shows on Dublab and NTS, and recently released an album of field recordings from Pakistan on the Sublime Frequencies label.

Born in Hyderabad, India, Haq received her MFA in Film and Video  from California Institute of the Arts in 2005. She is a 2020 Civic Media Fellow at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Innovation Lab and also is recipient of the California Community Foundation Visual Artist Fellowship, the Rema Hort Mann Emerging Artist Grant, and the Onassis AIR Fellowship. Haq is founder of Discostan, a collaborative decolonial  project working with cultural production from the SWANA (South and West Asia and North Africa).

As part of the Hockenhull events for 2020, an installation/performance entitled “Sama: The Divine Listening Room” will take place from 4-7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4, in Gallery 2 of Fine Arts. According to Pamela Thoma, director of the Program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, “the installation/performance and the lecture will offer WSU students an expansive vision of feminism, one that is both a necessary and a revitalizing part of public engagement in our current moment.”

The 2020 Jo Hockenhull events are organized by the Program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and The Department of Fine Arts, both in the College of Arts and Sciences, and with support from the Center for Arts and Humanities and the Women’s Center.

About the Hockenhull series

The lecture series was launched in 1996 to honor Jo Hockenhull, a WSU emeritus professor of fine arts who served as director of women’s studies for more than a decade. At WSU, Hockenhull focused on building programs and initiatives supporting diversity, the liberal arts, free speech and critical thinking.

Past lecturers have been visual artists, poets, and performance artists who emphasized the important connections between art, social justice and political practice. They include Octavia Butler, Coco Fusco, the Guerrilla Girls, Anna Chavez, Faith Ringgold, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Ayana Jackson, Marie Watt, and Jin-me Yoon.

The Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Excellence Fund welcomes gifts to support the Jo Hockenhull Distinguished Lecture.