Sumiah Salloum (b.1992) received a BFA and departmental honors in photography from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She bases most of her work where she grew up in western Massachusetts. Focusing her work on her family allows her to better understand her roots and upbringing; her father emigrated from Lebanon and her mother from Greece, making Sumiah and her siblings first generation American. Photography allows her to converge layers that make up who she and her family are.
It is natural to experience a level of identity shifts as lives go on, some are more drastic than others. Surrounding influences impact those shifts as well as the knowledge that is picked up while growing. Family is often the subject of Sumiah’s photographs. This series of images explores two significant socio political topics happening within her family. Her aunt and cousin immigrated to America from Lebanon to start a new life while still honoring their native Arab culture. While this was happening, Sumiah’s sister recognized her gender dysphoria and began transitioning to male. Both are different but have a common theme of displacement and yearning. The 8×10 black and white traditional portraits signify transformative occurrences within the domestic arena. The color work stands for day to day occurrences. People are constantly changing but these instances direct one to a new world.
For more of Suhmiah’s work, please visit her website.