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The Queer Arabs Posts

Episode 187 [in English]: Alireza Shojaian

We were thrilled to have Alireza Shojaian back on the podcast after his last episode three years ago! Alireza is an artist from Iran, previously in Beirut, and currently based in Paris whose work pushes boundaries in representation of queer bodies and sexuality. 

He discusses his veggie drawing series, made during a period of identity questioning, and the line between gay and trans identities in the Iranian framework. He also explains the instances of censorship he’s still experienced presenting queer work in the US and France, due to Iranian authorities exerting “soft power” abroad and Western presenters neglecting to stand up for the marginalized artists they claim to support. 

Finally, Alireza talks about his future plans as an artist in Paris, pursuing training, and working his way into a sometimes exclusive scene.  He’s currently working on a series called Under the Sky of Shiraz that centers around figures from Persian folklore and the longing of exile: when you look at the sky, you can still know you’re sharing this sky with the home you miss.


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Episode 186 [in English]: Layla EO

Layla EO is a Jordanian-American artist, self taught illustrator, and overall creative, raised in Texas, currently living in Chicago, offering a more vibrant take on the world. 

Layla talks about using her bold color palette as an alternative to the infamous yellow filter usually used to portray our home countries in Hollywood. Many of her illustrations feature queer, SWANA, and other POC subjects, allowing a wide range of people to imagine themselves through a lens of joy and beauty.

As Layla discusses her love for drag, we all recount our own dabblings as drag kings and queens. We also talk about the queer and SWANA subculture scenes in different cities, and how Americans continue to be confused about geography.

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