Sabba Elahi with Ahalya Satkunaratnam & Mohamed Mehdi


Sabba S. Elahi (pictured above) is a multi-disciplinary visual artist, educator, and cultural organizer. Through her artwork she subverts textile and the craft of embroidery to confront representations of dehumanized Muslim bodies, militarism, belonging/nationalism, and personal/collective/inherited trauma. Elahi’s recent exhibitions include 6018 North, Mana Contemporary, Museum of Design in Atlanta, and Prizm Art Fair Miami. She is at work on a communal embroidery and sound project to commemorate the names of women and children who have died by U.S. drone strikes inside Pakistan. Sabba Elahi received her M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Ahalya Satkunaratnam is a dancer and dance scholar who teaches cultural studies at a small liberal arts college in Canada. Her forthcoming book, “Moving Bodies, Navigating Conflict” on dance practice and war in Colombo, Sri Lanka will be published with Wesleyan University Press in 2019. Ahalya earned her BA in Political Science at Loyola University Chicago and her PhD in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside. Although she lives in Vancouver, BC at the moment, she is a Chicagoan at heart.

Mohamed Mehdi is Professor of Philosophy and Humanities at Oakton Community College. Since 2012, he has been the main organizer for Creating Justice, an annual celebration of arts and social justice movements that takes place every spring at Oakton. Mohamed has also worked with local publications as editor and contributor, including AREA Chicago.



April, 2020

Through a collaborative performance, Sabba Elahi and Ahalya Satkunaratnam engage in a shared practice of remembrance, mourning, ritual, and protest about the on-going war on terror and the importance of naming and honoring the dead. Reflecting on land as the place in which prayer enacts itself, the material on which war is fought, and the space that is loved and lost, the audience is brought into a shared space of remembrance and personal implication. The guiding text for the conversation is Fatima Asghar’s poem “If They Should Come for Us.”


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