Ritualization of Self (Mirror), 2020.
This digital illustration was a way of reflecting on the cultural and religious intersections that exist in my background, as a Mexican-Pakistani Muslim person who was raised in a household with both Muslim and Catholic influence. Through representations of a sort of mirrored or dual self, I attempted to explore ideas of reflection and cultural reconciliation. The piece was, for me, meditative — and features incense as an extremely important aspect of my personal spirituality. Incense also represents one of the cultural symbols I've looked to as a constant in both sides of my culture, as it serves ceremonial purposes for both my Mexican and Pakistani ancestries. The emotional dichotomy between the two versions of myself depicted is meant to speak to the inherent frustrations with navigating one's own culture, which can exist simultaneously with taking comfort in one's own familiar cultural symbols. The takeaway from the piece, both for myself and for the viewer if they so choose, is meant to be a statement on the challenging process of solidifying identity.