Q-STAGE 2019 artist Dua Saleh on their new work Diaries and Displacements.
Where did the ideas for Diaries and Displacements come from?
This piece is something that came together from my personal narrative relating to displacement. This piece is a retelling of some narratives that took place in three locations: geo-location, social-location, and bodily-location.
Why do you feel it is important to share these stories with the community?
Sudanese people have a long history of oration and storytelling. It is important for me to continue on with this ancestral legacy that has enriched the lives of my people and to provide people insight on the complexities of carrying both indigenous identity and gender non-conforming identities.
What is this performance about for you on a personal level?
This performance is chockfull of reimagined memories and stories that I hoped to pass on to people in the audience. I reformulated real memories to be better adjusted to the stage. Stage performance is another way to further express my story to the people that I’m surrounded by, so each performance is extremely personal and stays with me a long time after I leave the stage.
Have you been collaborating with any other artists for Q-STAGE?
I am working in collaboration with two artists for this project. The first is Beth Peloff who is a Twin Cities-based animator that has been producing work for the past decade. We have collaborated on an animated short called “Underground” that I have vocally composed a soundscape for. The other collaborator is Psymun Christensen, a producer who is internationally recognized for his amazing work. We have collaborated on the song “Pregnant,” which he has produced and which I have written poetry and lyrics for.
I have also been taking time to reflect internally for this performance project while seeking inspiration from places that I have lived in the past and identities that I have connected with. With the use of mixed media arts, I hope to better expand the breadth of my work through different lenses.
What social issues are important to you and how do they inform the art you create?
The social issues that I hold the dearest to me are resource deprivation and resource hoarding, as it relates to genocide and displacement. This can be found in a number of different sociopolitical contexts in the world, but this is especially a concern in Sudan as the third revolution since the nation’s inception ruptures the sociopolitical climate. The rising effects of heteropatriarchal violent crimes enacted by the government and military officials, the rising cost of goods, the effects of resource insecurity due to hoarding and crop burning, and the censorship of journalists and social media have been ever present during this revolution. These issues have directly informed the work that I have created for Q-STAGE, shaping the landscape of my narratives for this piece.
What artists or performances have inspired you over the years?
The artists that have inspired me the most have been artists within the Twin Cities. Primarily, the people who I have been impacted by are poets and theater performers. These people are often a part of grass roots theater initiatives. One artist to name is Fatima Camara. This poet has is a youth poet that has been very active within the poetry slam community.
Do you have any other projects in the works that you’d like to tell us about?
Nothing that I would like to reveal at this moment due to the secretive nature of the projects, but I promise that something is on its way! Be sure to pay attention to my social media content in the next couple of months!