Sarah Cypher

District of Columbia
Artist in Residence, 2022

Sarah Cypher headshot

Artist Statement

As an Arab American, military spouse, and queer woman from a working-class background, I’m interested in how people perceive and overcome differences within and among themselves. 

In the past, I explored these dynamics in magical realism that engages with cultural and sexual identity. As my work evolves, however, I have grown newly interested in the semiotic border between the human and nonhuman worlds. If literature is practice for new ways of thinking and feeling, I write in hopes of engaging language’s power to illuminate and realign the reader’s relationship to a shared ecosystem.


While at Headlands

I plan to bring my camera, computer, many notebooks, and good hiking boots. This will be my first return to California after moving to Washington, DC, for work; it will also be my first creative period after submitting my revised, debut novel to its publisher. I plan to generate new writing for my next long prose project, which is set in the Headlands and concerns wildlife photography, strange-moving time, and the search for a missing person, all set against a climate-crisis backdrop. 

This is a gathering, generative phase. I plan to spend substantial time on the land, taking photographs that might appear in the text, and to conduct research and interviews that deepen my understanding of the environment’s natural and human dimensions across the centuries. My hope is that through a practice of observation, slowness, and listening, I will find the right voice for the text and create as much material as I can before returning home.