Your work Doris & Andrea is part of a larger project called We Can Tell Our Own Stories, can you tell us more about it?
« We can tell our own stories » came from a desire to take back control of our own narrative as a community and to provide documentation from within the community for future generations of Arab Queer and LGBTQI++ individuals. It is frustrating for most of us Queer Arab creatives and Queer Arabs in general to find such a lack of documentation and almost no archive of our Queer history and to have to resort to western documentation for reference.
This is where « We can tell our own stories » started. This is why my publication « Cold Cuts » started, and this where I see the majority of my time being spent in the future, documenting the amazing people within my Arab community, all over the world.
Why were you interested in Doris and Andrea in particular and not to another family?
To be honest it was more Doris than Andrea that made this story one that should be told. I’ve rarely met a mother so affectionate, loving and supportive towards her child, regardless of his sexual orientation or gender identity. Their relationship represented somewhat of a newfound ideal of the Lebanese family for me. Family is very important in the Arab world, and its maintenance, more often than not, relies on not always sharing ones truth entirely. Here however, I found the strength of that family bond that us Arabs seem to be so proud of, but it was even more real, because no one was hiding a part of themselves, they both share their entire truths with each other. I found that to be beautiful.
At the same time as the exhibition, you’re publishing a special issue of your magazine Cold Cuts where you present your entire series of Doris & Andréa, can you explain to us your approach with this magazine?
When it comes to this limited edition special issue, I simply wanted to create a photo album that represented all different aspects of their relationship, their independant lives, their intimate setting. I don’t know if I was able to accomplish exactly what I wanted, but going over the proof I have in front of me at the moment, flipping through it, I get a little teary eyed. I want to start a conversation, this goes for everything else I do.