Nesreen Galal

Visual Arts

Loss of Identity

Dimensions Vary

Installation, Video Art + Performance

2023

Nesreen Galal is an interdisciplinary artist based in Montreal. Her work mostly centers on notions of identity, memory, the surreal, the uncanny. Additionally, she uses art as a vessel to critique colonial discourse, orientalism, capitalism and the cisgender male gaze. She presents these themes through a diverse variety of mediums, from cyanotype, to salt printing, to lumen print, anthotype, collage, to experimental photography and to filmmaking. Her short film, “Loss of Identity”, was screened in Montreal’s first BIPOC Film Festival in the summer of 2021. Her work has been internationally featured in magazines such as Luna Collective Magazine and Sunstroke Magazine, and she has had the opportunity to showcase her work locally at the likes of VAV Gallery, Eastern Bloc, Livart, Atelier Galerie 2112 and Somewhere Gallery. Recently, she has been focused on photography and printmaking with chemical ingredients. Nesreen is currently in her final fourth year, double majoring in Computation & Studio Arts, as she has a passion for blending both analogue and digital mediums.

Loss of identity 3.0 stems from my personal journey as I grappled with identity confusion. This installation delves into the interplay of various emotional layers, facial expressions, and the act of masking to conform to societal norms. The concept of masking involves concealing or omitting parts of oneself to present a socially acceptable image. My struggles with ADHD (ADHD masking), imposter syndrome and general challenges with fitting in, coupled with my mixed background as a marginalized queer Arab, led me to explore art as a therapeutic process. I crafted masks, one of which symbolizes my  younger self, complete with the hair highlights I recall to have once favored. Another mask, adorned with fragmented mirrors, represents the idea of a fractured self-image. Additionally, I produced four 3D-printed masks of myself showcasing different expressions. The intention was to establish a disconnect between the audience and the performer, fostering a voyeuristic experience. To achieve this, I incorporated CCTV cameras, evoking a sense of surveillance akin to a security guard monitoring screens for potential intruders or threats. By deliberately concealing my face, I aimed to question the concept of true self, highlighting the inherent challenge of understanding one’s feelings and thoughts. After all, my internal mental processes remain inaccessible to others. The theatrical appeal and use of masks and performance addresses a heavy topic while exploring notions of play in my work.

collection of 4 photos the first one of a television with 4 pictures of a girl followed by a studio set up followed by 2 pictures of humanoid plaster masks