September 11th, 2001. A few days prior, performance artist Nabeela Vega had just moved from the United States from their home in Bangladesh with their family, at the age of eleven. In its aftermath, the American Dream that ushers in so many rapidly unfurls, and navigating this new landscape becomes a new kind of contentious for Brown bodies. It is violent, ugly and mimics a time that had never really gone by, a time that has always been but wears a new mask, wears a different form.
- Tasnim Ahmed, LiveFast Magazine
Look inspired by: Yoji Yamamoto
Make up by: Self
"Choosing the look was intuitive — it's something that feels like me. I definitely have a color palette or specific hues that speak to me. My relationship to form is kind of informed by my own practice as an artist and someone who uses it on other surfaces. I used the same forms that I would use on an image or a sculpture on my face. It gives me a moment to bond with my work."
Nabeela Vega makes the show’s most important and relevant statement through “Visiting Thahab,” a series of four one-to-two minute HD video segments: “Thahab in the Summer,” “Thahab goes to the Liquor Store,” “Thahab Orders Pizza” and “Thahab Hates Showers.” It shows a woman wearing a luxurious golden garment similar to a hijab or burqa.
In the video, Thahab is isolated away from community participation, and almost silenced. In the summer segment, Thahab can’t eat an ice cream cone because she’s not allowed to expose her face; likewise she can’t wash herself because female nudity is prohibited, so she simply stands in the shower allowing the water to fall over her while dressed in her glorious golden protective oppressive drapery. She does, however, successfully order pizza and buy beer while
"Among featured projects is Boston-based Nabeela Vega’s “Adventures of Thahab” video series. Thahab is a sparkling gold ghost character, simultaneously a Halloween specter, a nonsexualized covering, and an echo of a burka. Playing with the idea of terror and terrorism, the Muslim artist places this covering on their body or other’s bodies and moves through natural settings and public spaces (beach, supermarket, Domino’s pizza chain), acting calm and collected while recording the confused, and sometimes hostile, reactions of others."