Our energy radiates out to affect everything and everyone around us. Shining a light on self-reflection and self-awareness and connecting to the kaleidoscope of life within can help us each increase our capacity to appreciate those qualities in others. By acknowledging what we find in our Inner Worlds (the title of my current series), we have an opportunity to make choices about what to keep and what to let go in the process of our personal and therefore communal growth and evolution. I change myself, I change the world. ~Gloria E. Anzaldúa Silhouettes hung together in Coming Together highlight the interconnectedness of our shared humanity through abstractions of repeating colors, textures, shapes and patterns reflecting qualities of inner life as a call to know and connect to ourselves and each other more deeply, beyond our outer profiles, and to radiate more brightly than before. What connects my artwork over the years is my curiosity of how point of view and attention affects what and how we see, feel, and understand the world. Looking from down, up, inside, out, or directly into another’s eyes, what unites us, what keeps us apart, where are our blind spots and how can we create more inclusive space for belonging and connection? I explore changing points of view and varied perspectives to express that connection, pleasure and learning from the everyday experience of looking and seeing or understanding anew. I grew up with my Egyptian Muslim father and my Basque-Italian-American Catholic mother, first in Egypt, and then in California. The mix they created in coming together continues to inform my identity and influence my perspectives and explorations. Navigating the in-between of cultural, racial and religious identities as an eight year old newly arrived in the United States was challenging. I dreaded answering the commonly asked “What are you?” or even to my name at roll call. I wanted to belong. I thought maybe I could change my name to Susan so I could more easily fit in, but my parents said no. I am grateful. Being proud of my multi-mixed heritage identity and experiences and being comfortable with navigating the in-between gives me confidence to stand in full color with all my identities and share my unique vantage point and continued hunger for varied perspectives and deeper understanding. My formal painting education came from studying with artists including Wayne Thiebaud, Manuel Neri, Roland Peterson, Roy DeForest, Mike Henderson, David Hollowell, and Squeak Carnwath at UC Davis then moving to San Francisco as home and creative center. To help further connect you with my work, write to [email protected] to purchase, comment, or inquire regarding artwork, or to arrange a studio visit. Also follow me on IG @studiosoad. Thank you!