Art Culture Video

SPICY Presents: “Masking, Mimicking, Menacing”

A meditation on being queer, diasporic, and South Asian.

This piece is by Marissa Malik, one of Spicy‘s Guest Contributors. Malik (she/they) is a London based artist and astrologer exploring mysticism and diasporic identity through printmaking, writing, illustration, and performance works. She is currently completing her MA in Print at The Royal College of Art, and works as the resident astrologer for Kajal Magazine.

“Masking, Mimicking, Menacing” is a performance by Hemanth and Marissa, with a voiceover by MC Rider Shafique as he reads from Nirmal Puwar’s book “Space Invaders: Race, Gender, and Bodies Out of Place”. This work is a meditation on our diasporic experiences of being South Asian queer folx living in the UK. It is about whitewashing, and the violence of language erasure in diaspora through the ongoing project of colonialism. We have lost our mother tongues through aspirational whiteness, and compulsory cultural assimilation. We now live in the in-between spaces of being too foreign for Western society (via racialization), but too Western for our motherlands.

Malik interrupts normative narratives of cultural assimilation and ‘exchange’ by using images and symbols from her mixed Pakistani and Mexican heritage to invent a unique visual language about her experiences living in the West. Malik is also interested in the way communities of color maintain and evolve their relationships to ‘motherland(s)’ while living in the Global North; especially in regards to spirituality. Malik’s current research concerns how spiritual identity formation occurs amongst first generation people of color, and the effects of language erasure (specifically the loss of mother tongues and ancestral tongues) in attempted assimilation.

Malik seeks to rewrite colonial narratives, as well as platform people of marginalized identities. This includes her ongoing curatorial project Bad Hands Mixes, where Malik invites musicians of color to create mixes highlighting sounds that truly resonate with them, and features them here on her website. In these mixes, producers discuss/show their artistic practices in relation to their hopes, dreams, ancestral callings, and experiences. At the beginning of 2017 Malik curated/exhibited the show ‘APATHiE’ in Boston’s renowned Distillery Gallery. This entailed bringing together 5 women-identifying artists to create a show which considered the way they balance feminist acts of revolution with self care. Their work has also appeared in a wide range of publications such as Gal-DemConsentedThe Bristol Cable, and Skin Deep Magazine. Her contributions range from cover illustrations, to political writing. In October 2018, her piece “Titty Taboos and Self Love” was published in Issue 3 of Gal-Dem’s annual print issue entitled “Secrets”