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Queer artist explores Arab identity in debut show

Photography on display at Galerie SAS vernissage on Thu, Aug 27

GO GO FAGGER RANGERS. Montreal-based artist 2fik opens his first show at Galerie SAS on Aug 27. Among the characters featured in the exhibit is an anarchist group he calls the Fagger Rangers. Check out more images at 2fikornot2fik.com.

2fik, a 30-year-old, Moroccan-born, Paris-raised queer artist based in Montreal, will open his first show Thu, Aug 27 at Galerie SAS.

The photography features 2fik in a variety of looks — some butch and others in drag. Traces of the real 2fik lie just beneath the images, a series of photos entitled Équations et Idylles Identitaires.

“It sounds complicated and abstract, but really it’s just a story of eight characters who meet in Montreal,” he says.

Calling from his home on the eve of his debut exhibit as an artist, an excited 2fik talks about how his projects are a mash-up of photography and performance of personas that he has embodied for the occasion. “It’s about immigration, integration and identity — the entire project is multilayered.”

The central character is Fatima, a Moroccan woman who, after studying science, seems headed for a bright future in life sciences. A marriage to a Quebecois man forces her to reconcile that part of her identity as she relocates to Montreal and finds herself unemployed in her chosen field when her degree is not recognized. This is where the narrative unravels through images as Fatima meets Alice, a “Sex and the City”-type character. We also see a Muslim man, a spirited Quebecois women, an 11-year-old boy and a homosexual. It’s not about keeping things totally serious though — an Italian-Arab closeted gay man named Marco is part of an anarchist group known as the Fagger Rangers.

“I am not hiding the fact that I am a homosexual and [my work features] a homosexual character who is in the closet. If homosexuality was the main subject of the exhibition I would not be able to touch as many people,” he says. “Being queer is a part of my identity,” he adds. “It’s about experience, and that is what I want to tell with the pictures. Identity is also what you live and how you experience your life.”

“I think a conservative person might be very surprised, or pissed off. The person will be struck by the image,” he says, noting that his father reacted strongly to the work. “The fact that I am dressed as a woman, or a woman with a beard. But it’s their problem not mine. They have to accept the images.”

But the point is not shock says 2fik. “The point is to make people think. I want them to realize that you can be a homosexual and Arab, but also to show that religion is very personal — it should not be political and social.”


Équations et Idylles Identitaires opens Thu, Aug 27 at 5:30pm at Montreal’s Galerie SAS (372, Ste-Catherine W, Suite 416). To check out 2fik’s artwork and for more info, go to his website: 2fikornot2fik.com