And With These Hands explores the theme of emotional labour and intersectionality. It is an intimate conversation between me and my mother (June Shah) about her experiences of the unspoken burden or emotional labour she carried and continues to carry as a Black woman in a variety of roles such as wife, mother, daughter, co-worker, and citizen. The conversation is accompanied by visuals of her braiding hair – a loaded image of care and metaphorical symbol of community building and weaving notions of connection and belonging. Her dialogue is overlaid with the words of Dr. Angela Davis from her speech Black Women in America (1974) at the Black Women Spring Forum at UCLA. The speech speaks of the sacrifices of women throughout history and specifically their contribution to the civil rights movements. In light of the pandemic and resurgence of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, the narrative of leadership, physical and emotional support of female identified bodies continues to hold merit. Special thanks to June and Monique Shah for their collaboration in the making of this piece.
Farihah Aliyah Shah (BFA, BHRM) is a contemporary lens-based artist originally from Edmonton, Alberta now based in Bradford, Ontario, Canada. Utilizing photography, installation and the moving image, Shah’s practices explore issues of identity formation through the colonial gaze, land, collective memory and archival material. She seeks to challenge the lack of representation of disenfranchised bodies in the photographic cannon and representational art encouraging others to take agency of their image. 2019 Recipient of the John Hartman Award for Emerging Artists, she currently serves as a Board Member at Gallery 44, Centre of Contemporary Photography, and a member of Women Photograph an organization that advocates for Female Identified and Non-Binary photojournalists. Shah has exhibited internationally in Canada, Finland, Germany, Italy, Scotland, and South Korea.
Farihah Aliyah Shah
31 Jul 2021
Title: And With These Hands
Artist: Farihah Aliyah Shah