My practice uses multidisciplinary tools to navigate overlapping tensions around religion, gender, censorship, and third-culture identity*. I’ve most recently worked with installation and mixed media on paper—collage, drawing, and intricate paper cutting—to tell personal stories that juxtapose the opposing cultures I was raised within. Born in Chicago to Yemeni parents, my upbringing encompassed a complicated relationship with Islam and the patriarchal social norms in our community, and the boundary-pushing icons of 80’s and 90’s Western pop culture. In my community of origin, calling attention to my transgressions is considered shameful. In contemporary conversations around Islamophobia and xenophobia, my arguments are often viewed as inconvenient as they complicate what have become polarized and narrow agendas.
Recently, my work has shifted to more personal, vulnerable, and contentious topics. I am in a unique position shed light on taboo issues because of extreme measures I took to have autonomy over my life and body. Shortly after graduating high school, I was forced to change my identity to avoid retribution in the form of honor violence. I fled a pending forced arranged marriage, religious conservatism, and oppressive misogyny. These are not tidy topics to discuss in today’s society. Right-wing media eagerly uses them to incite xenophobia but dialogue that challenges misogyny remains crucial. My current work lives in this terrain.
My practice is rooted in the principle, “the personal is political” and this conviction continuously drives me to challenge resistance-aiming to underscore the connections between personal experience and larger social and political structures. I see my work as a place of relevance for others, particularly those of the growing multicultural diaspora. Many of us find ourselves in a strange space between invisibility and hypervisibility. I am curious about these spaces and the cultural differences that shape us.
*third-culture identity refers to those raised in a culture that is different than that of their parents.
Exit Strategies, Women’s Center for Creative Work, Los Angeles, CA
Selected Group Exhibitions
On Echoes of Invisible Hearts, The Poetry Project Space, Berlin, Germany
Heat Wave, Guerrero Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Feminism Now, Grafiska Sallskapet, Stockholm, Sweden
On The Other Side: at land’s edge, 2017 Fellows Exhibition, Human Resources, Los Angeles
Awards and Recognition
California Community Foundation, Visual Artist Fellowship
Rema Hort Mann Foundation, Emerging Artist Nominee
Habibi’s Artist Residency; Detroit, MI
Vermont Studio Center; Johnson, VT
Women’s Center for Creative Work, Artist in Residence; Los Angeles, CA
Entre y Arte; Buenos Aires, Argentina
Tariq Shahrour, “On Echoes of Invisible Hearts: Narratives of Yemeni Displacement,” ArtMejo
Alexis Alicette Bolter, “ Yasmine Diaz – Exit Strategies at The Women’s Center for Creative Work,” The Coastal Post , review
Lynn Harris Ballen, “Exit Strategies,” Feminist Magazine Radio , (live interview) Los Angeles, CA
Aryana Gazza Hessami, “One Way or Another: A Profile of Yasmine Diaz,” Kolaj Magazine , Issue 21
Selected Artist Talks
Artist Talk with Ibi Ibrahim and Lila Nazemian, The Poetry Project Space, Berlin
Culture Clash, panel host with Arshia Haq, Rema Ghuloum, and Gazelle Samizay, Women’s Center for Creative Work, Los Angeles, CA
Collage Artists Tackle Contemporary Issues , Kolaj Fest, New Orleans
Dismantling Patriarchy, Golden Thread Productions, Brava Theater Center, San Francisco, CA