Headlands Center for the Arts

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto

california | performance/choreography/dance
Artist in Residence Program 2018

Artist Statement

My work uses drag, movement, and storytelling to unpack issues of identity, state violence, and collective memory. I draw from my personal background, public archives, and the contemporary in order to envision a different future. Queer Muslim Futurism is a large part of my practice—the belief that while queer Muslims struggle to claim space in a history of the past, we instead do so in a history of the future, reimagining, reinventing, and subverting.

I perform as my drag alter ego, Faluda Islam, a Muslim drag queen turned revolutionary leader in a future queer rebellion set to overthrow Western Imperialism.  She is martyred and has been resurrected and brought to this world to tell us of the impending doom we are about to face. She confronts stereotypes around gender, Islam, terrorism, and the simultaneous fear and desire that accompany the imaginary of the Muslim male.

While At Headlands

While at the Headlands I will be organizing a series of solo performances and collaborations that explore themes of queer resistance, futurity, and the necessity of solidarity in our current world order. I will be placing my brown queer Muslim body alongside other black and brown bodies amongst the ruins of the Headlands’ not-so-distant military past. In doing so, we will be addressing the role of the military of the United States today in a never-ending war on terror at home and abroad. With that knowledge, how we do we claim space in the shadow of a colossal military history?  While my own practices focuses on the intersections of queerness and Islam, these collaborations will explore how our struggles connect and diverge. The overarching question being: how do our experiences shape how we see our futures?

Selected Videos