Amal Amer – The Ancestry of Desire: Artist Lecture

Amal Amer – The Ancestry of Desire

During their time at Coaxial Arts Foundation, trans*disciplinary artist Amal Amer will explore the connections between SWANA mythology and queer and trans love. Amer’s work in progress, Alf Leila Wa Leila (working title), brings together poetry, movement, and storytelling into episodes of queer and trans connection. These love stories honor spirit, body, sexuality, family, heartbreak and heart mending. Taking its name from the Umm Kulthum song and the famous collection of stories, 1001 Nights, the performance draws on the history of Arab oral recitation with its powers of devotion and passion. Amer will spend residency time to research Sufi writings on desire and transcendence as well as SWANA love stories like Laila and Majnoon. Through their work, Amal explores the intersections of autobiography and archetype. Alf Leila wa Leila offers the potential of the erotic as time travel. Amer will offer an artist talk and a poetry reception alongside their development of new work.

Monday 11/29 7pm – Artist Lecture

Saturday 12/4 3-6pm – Opening Reception with poetry reading at 4pm

Friday 12/10 – Virtual Closing Livestream of alf leila wa leila and noujoum


Amal Amer (they/them) is a trans*disciplinary artist, writer, and facilitator of SWANA descent currently based in California. Through visual media, performance, and collective storytelling, they explore the tension between rootedness and movement in diaspora. Amer’s work reinterprets symbols and stories from SWANA cosmologies, holding space for queer and trans folks to transform and heal. Weaving together magic, spirituality, desire, displacement, and state violence, their work colorfully trans*cends gender and media boundaries. Blessed with the gift of traveling between worlds, they move between organizing spaces, nightclubs, institutions, friends’ couches, and star-storied spirit and plant realms. Their solo show, i love you like the stars, has shown online and at HATCH Workshop. They have shown across the web and have performed or shown work at USC Roski and Leiminspace in Los Angeles, YallaPunk!’s show at Vox Populi in Philadelphia, and La Mutinerie in Paris. Their work has been featured in Reconstructed Mag, Salon al Mahjar, Zafaraan, MILLE World, them, XY&Z and AWID Magazine, and on the podcast they host, Diaspora Babes. They have recently been an artist at the Wassaic Project in New York and HATCH Workshop in California. They graduated with a BA from Williams College in 2017, and have ongoing study in herbalism, dance, and astrology. Find them at and on Instagram @youcandoithabibi

Coaxial Arts Foundation residency program is supported by grants from Wilhelm Family Foundation and Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs

Wilhelm Family FoundationCity of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA)

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