Why must she be an Answer and not a Question? - meeting Animator Diyala Muir

Q – Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your work?

I’m a Scottish-Palestinian animation artist. My work usually centres around a main character and the interaction between their internal anxieties with the outside world. I like to draw on paper when I can but recently have been trying to get my digital animation up to scratch. The drawings and ideas in my sketchbooks inform my films as I like my production process to be very organic.

Q. – How does your work incorporate your queerness?

I don’t necessarily directly address my queerness in my work, in fact I don’t think I’ve officially ‘come out’ to my instagram followers (I guess I don’t see a need to, it’s just who I am) however a lot of my work is about sexuality / sexual identity / identity in general and the struggle within those personal areas. I struggled a lot with my sexual identity in my late teens and early twenties, and that tangled ball of anxiety and confusion definitely influenced my work at the time. I came out as Bisexual (to myself, family and friends) 2 years ago, this brought me a great freedom in terms of both my personal life and the themes I could explore with my work.

Q. What do you want people to take away from your work?

I would like to think that my work evokes a strange feeling of nostalgia, humour and melancholy in the viewer. One core sentence that comes to mind is ‘Why must she be an Answer and not a Question?’ I often think about this when I’m in the pre-production stage of my films. They are more about a metaphysical journey rather than giving some direct conclusion or statement to the audience.

Q – The theme of our first issue is ‘Myth’ can you tell us how you interpreted that?

Unconsciously, through years of absorbed media and chatter, I never took the option of being Bisexual as a real thing I could do. I put so much pressure and stress on myself to figure out exactly what I was, which box I fit in, x or y? I saw being bisexual as a joke or a dirty thing. Until one day it hit me like a brick from the sky. That’s how it felt.

I can like both, I can love both. It’s not dirty, it’s valid and it’s real. I feel that ‘Myth’ is the perfect theme for the first issue, because so many people feel this way, there is still so much stigma around Bisexuality

With the drawings I’m submitting I’ve taken this theme in a broader sense of identity, the myth being that you have to figure everything about yourself out.

Life and sexual identity is a journey, not a destination

Q. How important is it to be able to have a space that you can express yourself as a Bi/Queer artist / creator?

I cherish the space that I have to create, so very much. Not everybody has the network or support that I have, or live in a society that is open to different sexualities or gender identities. We can’t take that for granted, or forget our privilege in that regard! And there was a time where I felt very restricted within myself, so I definitely don’t take this freedom for granted, because I know how hard it is when you don’t have that network around you because all of your struggles are internalised.

Q – If you had one piece of advice for your younger self (looking back now) what would it be and why?

Take it easy on yourself, kid. You’re already two steps ahead of yourself.

Q – If you had to sum up the wonder that is the bi community in one sentence, what would it be?

Pure freedom and love

DIYALA MUIR

She / Her | London | Animation Artist

Discover more of Diayla’s work at the links above