Arshia Fatima Haq

Arshia Fatima HaqArtist’s Statement

I’m drawn to the generative possibilities of poetics, mysticism and subliminal states to subvert the black-and-white reductions of cultural identity (via birth) and state identity (via naturalization).

Through social practice, video, sound, and performance, I work with archives and aesthetic production rooted in the Muslim world that have been marginalized both within conservative Islam and in the Western imagination. I am interested in feminist modes that intentionally avoid referencing the standardized feminist model, and in exploring cultural expression outside of traditional, “othering” notions of ethnography.

By creating kinetic communal experiences beyond language, I trace an imagined geography for immigrants and diaspora populations, mining the collective subconscious, nostalgia and fantasy around ideas of “homeland” to transcend and integrate our varied cultural identities. Weaving together layers of personal narrative, myth, and shared historical memory, my work evokes an alternative devotional space – whether in the shrine or on the dance floor – of catharsis, celebration and resistance to orthodoxies.



Selected Exhibitions, Performances and Presentations
Cyclic, Blessed Be, group show, MOCA Tucson, Tucson, AZ
Solution, group show, Station Museum, Houston, TX
Oracle, group show, The Vortex, Los Angeles, CA
Discostan vs. the Sand Ninja, group performance, La Zona Rosa, Los Angeles, CA 2018

Postcards from the Disorient, Oracle group show, Broad Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Sama: The Divine Listening Room, Now Hear This!, group show, Montalvo Arts Center, Saratoga CA
Happy Birthday Mr. President, Reconstitution group show, LAX Art, Los Angeles, CA
Home Away From, group show, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA

It’s My Party, Experimental Media Performance Lab, UC Irvine, Irvine, CA
Devotion Salon, Poetic Research Bureau, Los Angeles, CA
The Cave of the Silken Web, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Dar Shez Riff, Last Projects, Los Angeles, CA
In North Africa 1971 to 1997: In Conversation with Aisha Ali, Velaslavasy Panorama, Los Angeles, CA

fadeinfadeout, Analog Dissident, site-specific exhibition oriented around sound, addressing issues of displacement, curated by Jimena Sarno, Los Angeles, CA
The Silent Parade, soundscaped walk: field recordings, historical newscasts, music samples, altered field recordings, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects

Discostan: The Psychedelic Islamic State, curated by Amitis Motevalli, Los Angeles Islam Arts Initiative

Film Screenings

Centre Georges Pompidou

Museum of Modern Art New York Tomorrowland
University of California Irvine Global Visions

Toronto International Film Festival Wavelengths Program
International Flaherty Seminar
Copenhagen International Documentary Festival
Pacific Film Archive


Black Med, Invernomuto, Manifestia Biennial, Palermo

Line of Control, Norient

Curatorial Projects

Moozis, Curator and Programmer at Women’s Center for Creative Work

USC Pakistan Arts Council, Auxiliary Board Member and Arts Curator

Discostan, a Los Angeles-based popup presenting music, performance and intervention of the Muslim diaspora, founder and creative director of artist collective

Radio Projects

“The Incredible Journey of Aisha Ali”, podcast produced for KCRW’s Lost Notes, featured on PRI’s The World
“Arshia Haq’s Sufi Songs”, Open End with Frosty on Red Bull Radio

Radio Discostan for NTS

“Performance Now” with John Tain and Carol Cheh, KCHUNG Radio

Radio Discostan for Dublab

Radio Discostan for Radio Sombra

Press, Interviews and Publications

A Dance Mag, “Tales of a Sound Seeker”

Ishq Ke Maare, Sublime Frequencies, full-length LP of field recordings from Sufi shrines in Pakistan

Culture Trip, “Discostan’s Mastermind Arshia Haq”,Brown Book Dubai, Sound Feature, Winter 2015

Artbound KCET, “Place of Disco:The Republic of Discostan”, Gary Dauphin
Good Magazine, “Discostan and the Psychedelic Islamic State”
LA Weekly, “Discostan: Music from Beirut to Bangkok via Bombay”

Awards and Fellowships

Montalvo Artist Residency Fellowship

AIR New Voices Scholar

LA Islam Arts Initiative/Department of Cultural Affairs Public Arts Grantee


M.F.A., 2005
California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA

B.A., 1999
Northwestern University, Chicago, IL