Palestinian-American artist Saj Issa was born in St Louis, studies at UCLA and is influenced and moved by the imagery of the Arab World. This is all important in understanding where she comes from in her ceramic works and paintings: she is showing you where she comes from and where she is going, and most importantly, the visuals that she has been embedded with her entire life. Her parents emigrated to the US in the 1980s from Palestine, settling in Missouri, literally coming from the center point of the world in the Middle East and ending in the center point of the US. Issa doesn’t settle in any center, though. She is vividly re-imagining how the logos of the West are omnipresent in the East, where the texture and history of Arab imagery and ceramic patterns now often have a landscape surrounded by the logos of Nike, Coca-Cola, Shell, and more.
In this episode of the Radio Juxtapoz podcast, we speak with Issa as she completes her MFA at UCLA and heads out into the contemporary art world with a vision and practice that is unique and exciting. She talks about her youth in St Louis, how she continues to find her voice in Los Angeles, and how she finds herself speaking with both the West and the East, simultaneously.
The Radio Juxtapoz podcast is hosted by FIFTH WALL TV’s Doug Gillen and Juxtapoz editor, Evan Pricco. Episode 109 was recorded in March in Los Angeles at UCLA’s MFA art department. Follow us on @radiojuxtapoz