Burning through Tunnels

Dimensions: 20″ x 16″
Stencil Light Painting

Stencil Design by Hosna Sahak
Photography by Tasneem Dairywala and Mustafa Abbas

About twenty years ago, my parents emigrated from the war-torn country of Afghanistan to Canada with the hopes of starting anew. Two years later, I was born to parents and a community that had high expectations and hopes for me. But being Canadian – born, I had difficulty confirming to cultural expectations. I felt like I am being shackled and obligated to fulfill a role I was not born to achieve. But now that I am more mature, I realized that the area in which I reside in is one of sentimental value, of such diversity, colour and excitement. I remember vibrant jewels on my neck, henna designs in my arms, elaborate embroidery in my sleeves. I remember kulfi in summer, bikes and laughter in parks, and piety in jummah. As I grew up, I learned to embrace my bicultural identity, and like a phoenix I rose from the ashes of my parents’ past, a symbol of hope and resurrection.