Essma Imady is an installation and film artist based in the Twin Cities. Her practice addresses the political aspects of the personal, the formation of identities, and the complicated political relationship between vision and knowledge. Pillar of Salt was created after interviews with young Syrian refugees and as a response to her own experience as a mother living in diaspora. Drawing upon the Biblical story of Lot’s wife, who was struck down for looking back while fleeing, Imady illustrates the tension between yearning for home and the desire to protect one’s child.
Imady grew up in Damascus, Syria, where she began her career in 2009. Due to the war, she moved to Minnesota in 2011 and continued to expand her vision as an artist. Imady has performed and exhibited at several leading galleries and museums both nationally and internationally, including the Minneapolis Institute of Art and The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. In 2018, she was named Artist of the Year by City Pages, a publication serving the Minneapolis–St. Paul metropolitan area.