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Daily Dose — Zaynab Mohammed Brings the Art of Listening to the Stage

Ari Lord
By Ari Lord
October 12th, 2023

This month, Are You Listening? A one-woman show with Zaynab Mohammed is hitting the stage in Nelson in October and surrounding towns.

This is a story of a woman who loses her innocence at a young age due to cultural inequity while navigating a terrain foreign to her ancestors.

It delves into how she frees herself from centuries of colonization and displacement. Mohammed reflects upon what she has learned by leaning on the art of listening to herself, others and the earth in this carefully woven debut one-woman show.

“I’m performing in Kaslo, New Denver, Nelson twice in one day, Revelstoke, Golden, and there is one other performance that hasn’t been locked in yet. I have six shows,” says Mohammed.

The performance poet with ten years’ experience was the 2022 winner of the Richard Carver Award for Emerging Writers.

“I’m excited and curious about how it will land with people. I’ve been working on it for so long. Writing it and bringing it to life took one year, but the idea and the steps before that were more than that,” says Mohammed.

Mohammed explores themes that are close to her heart in the piece.

“It’s very emotional and intense. If you’re curious, come. It’s a unique story from a community member wrestling with big issues. It’s a little bit of resolution; if you want to witness that, then come and witness. It would be a pleasure to have you.”

It means a lot for Mohammed to have the chance to perform this show, she says.

“I have total faith in my creative journey and process. I’m grateful for the opportunity that people want to listen and spend an hour with me and hear what I have to say and what I’ve created. What an honour. I’m the kind of person that wears their heart on their sleeve. That’s where the magic happens.”

During her yearlong artist residency at Civic Theatre, she started exploring listening as a concept.

“My intention was to interview people about listening, and then some kind of theory would emerge; that was my hope from what I collected from the interviews. At first, I made that short film that came out last year. And then, when I went to start writing my show. I ended up using my story as the foundation for talking about listening,” says Mohammed.

Mohammed spent two months in Lebanon recently and had a chance to perform her show.

“I previewed it in Canada and Lebanon once for a group of people close to me. Having some feedback has been helpful to break the ice. I didn’t know how it was going to land, but it was well received,” says Mohammed.

War and displacement come up in her work.

“I was born and raised in Canada. I don’t know a lot of people with these types of stories. People haven’t faced war or their country’s war after war after war. That’s the angle I’m coming from. I think it’s healthy to share stories and have diversity, especially where we live. It’s such a pocket in the woods or in the mountains. I hope my show inspires people one way or another.”

The show is created with support from the Nelson Museum, Archives & Gallery and the Nelson & District Arts Council, and with funding from Columbia Basin Trust and Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance.

Tickets are $12 and can be purchased here.

You can find Mohammed’s website here.

Her Instagram here.

Her Youtube channel here.

Categories: Daily Dose

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