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Who is Wellness For with Fariha Roisin

Season #5

“If we were able to just hold the multi- dimensional state of all things, I think we would just be more evolved. Because we are such binary thinkers that everything's this or that, and it's actually limiting. It's limiting us. It's limiting others. It's limiting society.”

Fariha Róisín is a multidisciplinary artist, a Muslim queer Bangladeshi, who is interested in the margins, liminality, otherness, and the mercurial nature of being. Her work has pioneered a refreshing and renewed conversation about wellness, contemporary Islam, and queer identities and has appeared in The New York Times, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, Vice, Village Voice, and others. 

She is currently the deputy editor of Violet Book, sits on the advisory board of Slow Factory, and frequently writes essays on her Substack from everything about comparing yourself to others, schadenfreude, and the deeply profound film, Saint-Omer.

Róisín has published a book of poetry entitled How To Cure A Ghost (Abrams), a journal called Being In Your Body (Abrams), and a novel named Like A Bird (Unnamed Press) which was named one of the Best Books of 2020 by NPR, Globe and Mail, Harper’s Bazaar, a must-read by Buzzfeed News and received a starred review by the Library Journal. Upon the book’s release, she was also profiled in The New York Times. Her first work of non-fiction Who Is Wellness For? An Examination of Wellness Culture and Who it Leaves Behind (HarperWave) was released in 2022, and her second book of poetry is Survival Takes A Wild Imagination is out Fall of 2023. 

*Episode Content Warning: mention of abuse*

In this episode, Anjali and Fariha discuss:

  • Fariha’s path into this work as a multi disciplinary artist/ writer/ radical femme Muslim
  • Moving excavations from Fariha’s lived experiences, her healing from abuse and trauma, and how these inform and hold her work in the world now.
  • Navigation of imposter syndrome as an immigrant
  • Gaza and Palestine: what does showing up as a dedicated ally look like for those of us who are geographically far away from the lands?
  • What is anti colonial wellness? How can we manifest and co create spaces of care?
  • What role does art have in activism? 
  • Who is Wellness for? The inspiration and the process of writing.
  • Liminality is critical in collective transformation. How can we build capacity and portals of expansion into liminality?
  • Fariha’s practices of care during tumultuous times.

Connect with Fariha's work on Substack and follow her on Instagram @fariha_roisin

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