poet, artist, & educator
Meet Flor Khan, a poet, artist, and educator who is committed to empowering youth of color in San Francisco. She is a recent graduate with a Master's in Equity and Social Justice in Education. When she's not collaborating on murals or developing curriculum, you can find her in the Mission District spitting fire on the mic. She is a firm believer that the power within the creative arts can be used as a tool for liberation.
How does your identity translate through the way you dress?
I always try my best to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Of course, this ends up playing a key role in how I dress. I've never been one for name brands and expensive clothing. I think any form of wear can be found in a thrift store; whether it's casual, funky or fancy, a good find at your local thrift store can go a long way!
If there is one thing you could change about the world, what would it be and why?
The way mass media portrays womxn is oppressive, especially for womxn of color. Everyday, whether it's in my classroom or in a workshop, I make an effort to educate our youth on the importance of critical media analysis. Although many of us are guilty for singing along to lyrics or following television series that may perpetuate negative stereotypes of females, we can still make an effort to deconstruct these images and single stories society has built for womxn. We are more than beauty, sex and seduction. We are powerful, intellectual and passionate beings!
What is one thing you would like to share with others about your culture?
I am proud to say I'm mixed. My mother is from Mexico, but my father is from South America, Guyana. Although I most often identify myself as Xicana, I am also West Indian. Yes, I can speak Spanish and sing along to Selena, but I can also recite prayers from the Qur'an in Arabic. It's an interesting mix - culturally, religiously, and geographically - but I like to say I get the best of spices from both worlds!
Sculpture by Flor Khan
“I want the freedom to carve and chisel my own face, to staunch the bleeding with ashes, to fashion my own gods out of my entrails...”
- Gloria Anzaldúa
In an attempt to disrupt the use of categories, boxes, and labels we have been forced into, this interactive sculpture is a call to womxn of color and the chance to reclaim our own construction of self. The sculpture invites the viewer to deconstruct the way womxn are often mirrored in mainstream media and explores the question: Whose image do we really seek to fit? In what ways can we rebuild who we are while also acknowledging and honoring the pieces that have been broken within us? Reflejo not only mirrors the self and body, but provides the space to examine the female experience and reflect on beauty, femininity, gender, sex, skin color, perfection, imperfection and how we come to terms with these concepts day by day.
My mother swam for freedom –
when she arrived
all she found
were your dirty china dishes.
She painted her face a color that was not her own
and mailed her accent in a letter
to her mother:
“I do not need this anymore.”
I left my crumpled notes
throughout the land
I found the corners of the world
met where I stood.
In each note, your existence
seeded inside my chest.
Tattered and old,
the words broke like leaves –
disintegrating on sidewalks
into a puzzle.
And from it,
beneath the surface
came a light
both poetry and prose.
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Media courtesy of Flor Khan.