Mentor:Gretchen Batcheller, Assistant Professor of Art, Pepperdine University
In the summer of 2012, I made history as one of the first female athletes to compete for Saudi Arabia in the Olympics. This experience greatly impacted my life, leading me to pursue a body of creative work exploring the nuanced public and private perceptions of my newfound role as a “trailblazer” for women in Saudi Arabia. Based heavily upon research gleaned from the sociopolitical implications of my experience, my project deals with first-hand reflections and meditations surrounding my participation in the Olympics, as well as subsequent time spent in Saudi Arabia this past summer. I employ the use of photo documentation, various methods of portraiture, and installation to visually express my story. By utilizing a variety of mediums, I am able to explore the conversation between public and private identity. The ongoing process of visual documentation has enabled me to discover, first-hand, the deeply personal side of such a high profile, public event. I have come to realize that this struggle with identity is not uncommon; mine just came about in a very public manner. This tension between public and private is not meant to silence, but to empower and inspire a generation.