© 2016 by Sobia Ahmad

Small Identities: Muslim Immigrants Installation Project

I believe art holds immense powers.

The power to create and understand our identities;
The power to tease, to elicit, to provoke, to reassure, to question, and even to rebel;

And, of course, the power to raise voices against obvious and subtle injustices in our society.

Peace, and welcome to the project! Please read a little about it below.

My name is Sobia Ahmad and I am an immigrant, Muslim, female artist in the U.S. You can read more about me and my work here


This project, though autobiographically inspired, is an investigation of the shared experience of a community against the backdrop of current political upheaval. 

“Small Identities” is a play both on words and ideas. It refers to ID photos and belittling of identities of individuals that belong to a certain group. It may be seen as a direct reference to the Trump’s administration’s Muslim Ban, but it also alludes to many issues such as politicizing of identities, racial profiling, and the association of cultural and religious symbols with a group’s identity. In 2016, I began collecting passport-sized ID photos of my relatives, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances that are Muslim immigrants in the U.S. themselves or identify as a part of this community through their families. I have been transferring these images onto Islamic-shaped ceramic tiles, to be displayed as a large wall installation.

Every time a Muslim immigrant tells me they're hesitant to submit their ID photo due of fear of harassment and hatred, I add an empty tile to the project to represent them - because they are here and they are not invisible. In a mass of ID photos and Islamic tiles, individuals are lost and what remains is a group identity disparaged at the hands of politicians.

This project is ongoing, but I will display it for the first time at the Common Ground Gallery at VisArts in Rockville, MD in February 2018. 


Please see the image below of a similar piece I worked on last year. I'm using the same tiles.

The Fear


Part of Sadat Art for Peace Permanent Collection