The formidable artist, musician, and composer Fatima Al Qadiri was born in Senegal, raised in Kuwait, and is now based in New York. Her work pivots around the politicized axes of gender, consumerism, military action, and religion.
Al Qadiri is known for a number of different projects, though she first gained a following with her “Muslim Trance Mini-Mix” for DIS magazine in 2010, released under the name Ayshay – a project that re-interprets the sounds of religious Muslim songs. In 2011, Al Qadiri released her debut EP, Genre-Specific Xperience, working around five discursive subgenres of dance music: juke, hip hop, dubstep, electro-tropicalia, and 90s Gregorian trance, and in 2012, Al Qadiri’s Desert Strike EP was released via L.A. label Fade to Mind. Desert Strike was built off of Al Qadiri’s experience of the Iraq-Kuwait War and subsequent Gulf War in the 1980s, as the barrage of aerial bombings and oil fires on her home city kept both her and her sister out of school and inside during this period. At the time, the two were engineering their own attacks on civilian and military targets via the Sega Megadrive Desert Strike video game.
In recent years, she has also released Asiatisch, Brute, and Shaneera on influential U.K. label Hyperdub. Always conceptually, socially, and politically engaged, Al Qadiri has made a name for herself as an artist with a keen, discerning eye. Asiatisch is rooted in grime, as imagined through a Western idea of the East, and begins with “Shanzhai” – a nonsensical Mandarin cover of “Nothing Compares 2 U”. Her most recent release, Shaneera, is a faster, more club-oriented release that maintains a sense of fun across her play with gender and queerness in the Arab Gulf. Arabesque melodies swirl around evil, femme vocals in a fun, dancefloor-friendly release that constitutes a “love letter” to queer Arab icons (The Fader). Al Qadiri’s other projects include CHLDRN (with Shayne Oliver), Future Brown (with Nguzunguzu and J-Cush) and the GCC art collective (with other artists from Persian gulf nations).