[VIDEO] Grandson of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto making his mark as the next ‘Muslim Drag Queen’
The anti-Muslim sentiment in the US made me want to hide who I was
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Junior is the grandson of the former Prime Minister of Pakistan and founder of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
Bhutto Jr is a visual and performance artist who lives in San Francisco. Much of his work, including a famous show named ‘Faluda Islam,’ explores Islam’s intersection, sexuality, and masculinity.
The 30-year-old started visual and performance works exploring Islamic identity after coming to the US in 2014 to study at the San Francisco Art Institute. In the beginning, he was shocked by a vicious series of anti-Muslim ads on the city buses.
“The anti-Muslim sentiment made me want to hide who I was,” Bhutto said; but at the same time, the explicit Islamophobia “strengthened me in a way I wasn’t in Pakistan.”
Alongside the Iranian artist Minoosh Zomorodinia, Zulfikar Jr began exploring acts that emphasized and embraced his status as a Muslim in the United States. Together, the two artists created “prayformances,” in which they completed the prayer ritual (Salah) in public places.
“There are some obscure notions about what Islam represents and the threat that Muslim men pose,” Bhutto Jr stated in an interview with the international news outlet. By combining homoerotic images of muscle-bound men with patterned flowery cloth sections and featuring the calligraphic Arabic script, he challenges Muslim masculinity beliefs.
“I respect what my father did,” Zulfikar Jr said. “My father dedicated his entire life to a cause; he made himself physically vulnerable for a cause; I respect that — but, honestly, it’s not for me.”
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