March 5, 2020

Los Angeles-based artist Arshia Fatima Haq delivered the 2020 Jo Hockenhull Distinguished Visiting Lecture in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Washington State University on Thursday, March 5 in the Fine Arts Building Auditorium. Haq gave a lecture titled “Entering the Psychedelic Islamic State: From Discostan to Sama and the Sonic Ummah.”

An accompanying Hockenhull event, an installation/performance entitled “Sama: The Divine Listening Room,” took place from 4-7 pm on Wednesday, March 4, in Gallery 2 of Fine Arts. It featured a deep bed of red rose petals.

Through social practice, video, sound, and performance, Haq works with archives and aesthetic production rooted in the Muslim world that have been marginalized both within conservative Islam and in the Western imagination.

A group of students sit beside a deep bed of red rose petals.
Students sit beside a swath of rose petals at the Haq installation on March 4, 2020.

Haq is interested in counter-archives, speculative documentaries, and the blurred lines between fact and fiction, and she is currently exploring themes of embodiment and mysticism. Her dynamic body of work stems from the complexities of inhabiting multiple personas – woman, Muslim, immigrant, citizen – and is conceptualized in feminist modes outside of the Western model.

Past Hockenhull lecturers have been visual artists, poets, and performance artists who emphasized the important connections between art, social justice and political practice. They include Octavia Butler, Coco Fusco, the Guerrilla Girls, Anna Chavez, Faith Ringgold, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Ayana Jackson, Marie Watt, and Jin-me Yoon.

The lecture series was launched in 1996 to honor Jo Hockenhull, a WSU emeritus professor of fine arts who served as director of women’s studies for more than a decade.

The 2020 Jo Hockenhull events are organized by the Program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and The Department of Fine Arts, both in the College of Arts and Sciences, and with support from the Center for Arts and Humanities and the Women*s Center.