Dua is a multidisciplinary performing artist based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Using a retrospective sound and diverse afro-diasporic influences, the work produced by this artist provides audiences with a full range of emotions. Saleh hopes to explore art as a means to resist the status quo and as a medium to engage in complex expressions of humanity.
Dua was born in Kassala, Sudan and moved to the United States as a refugee of war with family. Though gaining attention as a performing artist, Saleh has primarily been known for political organizing and workshop facilitation throughout the state of Minnesota.
The summer we forgot about baba,
I remember learning the true meaning behind my name.
Du'a (دُعَاء) was a prayer, a muffled cantor visiting the ear of divinity.
A wish for reverie stuffed in travel bags.
I rarely kept my bag in the trunk because
it held my most treasured possessions at the time.
My gold earrings, a book, and a silver mechanical pencil.
The ones that I've seen lawyers place besides leather notebooks.
I remember having my heartbroken
when I learned that leather was the skinned flesh of another being.
That day, I learned to clear my throat of the word elegant
to leave room for my own name.
Today my name sounds like desperation.
Du'a is a call for an ending.
It's the awkward break in the throat of a non-speaker
when they want to pronounce my existence with intention.
It's the fading taste of khudra from my lips and bukhur from my hair.
Today Du’a reminds me of the lilac soot that dusted the sky
the evening I asked Allah (SWT) to smite me.
Sometimes I say my name to myself
in hopes that it will translate into that summer.
I often wish baba would vanish into a memory.
But his name has a ring to it.
And so does mine.
I think that's why I still pray sometimes.
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