All over the world, immigrants make the difficult decision to leave their homes for an alien country, often to escape poverty, oppression, and religious persecution, and to make better lives for themselves and their families. The personal and social upheaval of immigration is then exacerbated by becoming an outsider in a new land where people are met with stereotypes and discrimination due to their race, religion, culture, etc. perfectly exemplified by the treatment of Muslim-Americans in the wake of the September 11th attacks in New York City. As an immigrant from Pakistan, Ithaca College faculty artist Lali Khalid has experienced this firsthand, stirring feelings which sparked the urgency behind the work in this exhibition, built over a number of years. The portraits in this project are meant to subvert assumptions and to start a dialogue about changing discriminatory perceptions of immigrant populations. Khalid’s images focus on cultural and private moments, portraying Muslim immigrants in their everyday lives, capturing the startling quality of found light, comfort, and stillness between familiars.
Mehreen (Lali) Khalid came to the United States from Pakistan in 2007 as a Fulbright Scholar and attended Pratt Institute, NY where she received an MFA in Photography in 2009. After returning to Pakistan for two years, she immigrated to the United States in 2011. Issues relating to diaspora, identity, family and home dominate Khalid’s photographic inquiry. Lali Khalid has shown her work in numerous exhibitions throughout Europe, Pakistan, and the United States, and was recognized by the Light Work Grants program in 2019. Her forthcoming book, ‘Home. In my heart, beating far away.,’ published by Artvoices Art Books will launch while her work is on display. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Photography at Ithaca College, NY.