While Alshaibi frequently taps into the dark moments of his past—from the anxiety of living under Saddam Hussein to the fear of being deported back to Iraq—a number of his videos reflect a sense of humor about his living culture clash. His celebrated 1999 short, Dance Habibi Dance, for example, is a music-video-style Arabesque disco party that examines "how American pop culture is digested and interpreted in places like Africa, the Middle East, and Asia," and vice versa: "seeing how Middle Eastern culture is interpreted on this side, and the humor in that."
The bulk of Alshaibi's work, though, provokes and confronts, from subversively pornographic shorts like Ass (2001), The Foreigner (2001), and The Amateurs (2003), to the disturbingly political Bombshell (2004), a video collage of Iraqi underground torture videos and Saddam Hussein birthday celebrations. His unsettling 2003 feature debut, Muhammed and Jane, is a haunting black-and-white love story about a fearful Iraqi-Polish man who returns to the U.S. and forges a relationship with a young woman suffering from a similar sense of paranoia.
In 2006, he told, "For so long, everything terrified me: I thought I’d be kidnapped by the Baathists and sent to war, or be assassinated,
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