ALHAMDU | MUSLIM FUTURISM
Somewhere in America, 2013
2 min 30 sec
ALHAMDU | MUSLIM FUTURISM, 2021
4 min 39 sec
The Mirage, 2022
Immersive interactive installation
16’ x 16’
The Mirage is a dynamic immersive installation that transports audiences into a bold and colorful Muslim future. Visitors experience this world through kaleidoscopic visions, sensory manipulations, and dialogue with the installation itself, embarking on an emotional journey. The experience is guided by haptic responses of the installation combined with spatial audio and vibrant visuals.
Interaction with the installation begins by scanning a code and responding to the question “what would you like to contribute to a Muslim future?” The 15 options presented vary greatly; they can select contributions such as harmony or solidarity or other more negative options such as skepticism and resentment. Visitors then enter the space and are met with billowing panels of silky fabric; centered in front of them is an illuminated portal. The whirring of industrial fans blowing at the fabric is just audible alongside the ambient music. Visions of the Muslim future are projected onto the screens, depicting a world in which dozens of Muslim characters shine brightly in their colorful clothing and environment.
Stepping into the spotlight triggers an immediate shift; the fans power down and the fabric stills. A short phrase in both English and Arabic will appear on-screen, kaleidoscoping on top of the visuals. These phrases, which are all adapted from lines of poetry and Quranic verses, are a response to the collective “contributions” of all who have entered the space. After a momentary pause for reflection of this message, the text disappears and the billowing resumes.
In the early days of development, portals came to mind. This work is much more than a door to the future, however; it is a call to action. The Mirage is not a fleeting figment of our imaginations. Rather, it is the shifting image of a bold and joyous future in which all are welcome.
Tapestry of Muslim Futures, 2022
Digital photo and video on screen
This series of portraits weaves together a vibrant and joyous Muslim Future – one in which Third Culture is the dominant wave and where Muslims exist loudly alongside each other in their found-families. These images highlight the unique and colorful fashion of the inhabitants of this world as well as a clear sense of community and belonging.
Insider Outsider #2, 2016
5' x 7'
Despite being the country of Afridi's birth, Pakistan is a somewhat unfamiliar place to him today. The difference in ideologies has become so vast that it is easy for him to feel like an outsider. Meanwhile, in his adopted home of New York City, Afridi feels mostly at home, but at times, the sense of being 'alien' exists there too. Like many others, Afridi maintains the status of something both temporary yet permanent – that of the Insider, Outsider.
Hawai Chappals (Flying Sandals), 2019
Leather, rubber, steel
Edition of 5
Collaboration with Markhor
It is believed these sandals belonged to a 12-year-old boy from Peshawar, Pakistan. According to local reports, the boy prayed for the ability to fly in order to regularly visit his estranged father in the distant town of Kohat…
The Call, 2022
Archival inkjet print
20" x 15"
The Call considers the adthan, or Islamic call to prayer, and the expectations that many have regarding who makes the call and who can be the minaret. Alfageeh challenges the conventional depiction of who can pull another to a better understanding of faith and identity by depicting a colorful and joyous scene of a community that can and does look like anything and anyone.
NABI H. ALI
HORSE GUY, 2022
Archival inkjet print
20" x 13"
The trope of the Muslim cavalryman or horse-trader has captured the fascination of various religious communities in the subcontinent for centuries—so much that one can even find instances of local gods and saints adopting the image of the Muslim warrior on horseback. This has resulted in many regional subcults of Muslim horse saints, where these figures may be offered votive clay or wooden horses, horsegram, horse whips, etc. However, many non-Muslim renderings of this phenomenon rely on stereotyping the Muslim as an aggressive warrior or black magician, often of foreign origin, whose "demonic" abilities transform into good use once he is subdued.
In a world where these unique meeting points between various religious and cultural traditions are vanishing, Horse Guy imagines a future where these legacies continue in their own way. The subject of the piece, whose "horse" is a longboard, is technically closer to us than he is to the future or to the past—but one can assume he has been summoned into a digital landscape that far proceeds us while still maintaining traditional visuals such as the incense, the topi, and lungi, the votive horses (though now digitized), and the call-back to 786—the abjad numerical quantity of the Basmallah that permeates almost every vintage South Asian Sufi devotional poster. He reclaims stereotype where it gives him dignity but breaks the expectations that come with it; he is both traditional and modern, powerful and gentle, a local wayfarer on wheels rather than a foreign warrior on horseback—and he is certainly free, roaming easily among distances of space, time, and even mind.
Archival inkjet print
16.5" x 13"
Dhikr, a form of Islamic meditation involving methodical repeating prayers, is both the title and central theme of this work. It depicts a speculative world set far in the future when humans are no more. A group of androids sits in a circle remembering the actions of their old masters who performed dhikr. The landscape is colorful and dreamlike to evoke the positive energy felt when performing a communal act.
Prayer is better than sleep, 2016
Acrylic paint, Spray paint, Fabric, Confetti, Sequins, Gold leaf, Glitter on canvas, Curtain rod
6' x 2'
Taj's work pushes the power and complexity of minoritized peoples to the front, particularly those who flourish in the chasms and intersections between essentialist categories of identity. Taj focuses primarily on queer Muslims in a U.S. context, a group widely judged as "impossible" or paradoxical. They illustrate this particular hybridity by combining references to Islam, queerness, and varied histories of the Muslim diaspora. These combinations manifest into mixed-media collages and portraits.
Glitter-bang lady-planes/strap-on that rubber gun/let's boom, 2015
Collage, Glitter, Confetti, Studded trim, Spray paint, Acrylic paint, Rhinestones, Plastic beads on canvas, Mounted on wood
2' x 5'
Much of Taj's work describes an apocalypse or "end of the world" and the hybrid creatures that inherit the earth. The beasts are constructed primarily with mixed-media collage. Clippings are sourced from popular fashion and bridal magazines from the U.S. and South Asia and National Geographic. The deconstruction of these materials disrupts the capitalist, white supremacist narratives of beauty, value, and humanity that they espouse. The fragments are recombined, becoming decadent femme-monsters. These creatures reflect the monstrous reputation of the Other--erotic, fearsome, and difficult to kill.
The "beast of the earth" (دابة الأرض Dabbat al-Ard, 27:82) is described in the Quran and hadith as one of the signs of the coming of the Last Day. A hybrid creature that "encompasses so many animal forms in paradoxical and fantastical ways, symbolizes a 'universal nature' that bears, as it were, all worldly realities within it; it is a manifestation of that intermediate world...between bodies and spirits where certain kinds of opposites can exist together" (Nasr, The Study Quran). This interpretation of the beast speaks to its embodiment of queerness and liminality; an intermediary that destroys and transcends binaries.
Mixology presents a close-up of a D.J.'s mixing table. It is a familiar sight: two turntables separated by a mixing desk, with the arms of a D.J. flipping switches and spinning records. But here, the black vinyl of the records is decorated with circular hadith from the Prophet, painted in white on the grooved surfaces. Arabic verses are a recurring motif in Mounir Fatmi's work, recontextualized and reworked so as to question their meaning and transform them into purely decorative elements. They morph to become graceful patterns, contrasting with the backdrop against which the artist is showing them: circular saw blades, photocopiers, or, as in this case, records.
The circular forms draw on Duchamp's Rotoreliefs, circles with black and white designs which create dizzying visual effects when spun. The visuals are accompanied by the records' music, which is distorted as the vinyl spins: the record player's needle peels away at the paint between the grooves, creating a new, rather uncomfortable, sound. The clash between music and text is brutal – representing cultural differences and also the age-old arch-rivals: pleasure and religion. This violent contrast is perfectly intentional. As Fatmi explains, "the first meeting between cultures can only be violent."
Like much of Fatmi's work, Mixology juxtaposes the Occident with the Orient. This is reinforced by the predominantly black and white aesthetic, contrasting the white Arabic verses against the black of the vinyl and mixing table. The conceptual contrast, however, is far from black and white. Concerned with the spread of globalization, the artist exposes the increasing lack of comprehension between cultures and makes a subtle plea for enlightened tolerance. Instead of trying to send a clear message, Mixology aims to destabilize established attitudes and encourage discussion.
Modern Times, a History of the Machine, 2010
Modern Times is a video showing a large and complex white geometric composition against a black background, with numerous motifs of various shapes moving among intertwined lines. A soundtrack with the sound of running motors brings rhythm to the evolution of this endlessly changing graphic composition.
The video questions the functioning principles that produce significations and uses in our contemporary societies. It questions our relation to the world based on the notion of the machine and the experimentation of interactions between Arab calligraphy, contemporary art, and linguistics. Modern Times tackles the notion of the machine as it's been shaped since the Industrial Revolution and the apparition of increasingly complex and automated tools. It not only questions the reversal of relations between man and machine during the industrial era that allowed the machine to evolve from a utilitarian function to a form of domination and control over individuals, but it also questions the concept of machine and its various aspects: tool, heterogeneous assemblage producing an effect in the widest sense, modeling of the fantasmatic capacities of humans, poetic and metaphoric designation of the world itself. Lastly, it participates in the foundation of an aesthetic figure that is central to Fatmi's artistic universe – that of the machine.
An-Nisaa 1: The Women, 2019
African wax, Kente, Batik, and Tie and dye fabric scraps, Paper, Mirror, on Tyvek
An-Nisaa 1: The Women celebrates the vital and significant role of women by referencing a verse in the Quran that highlights the elevated ranks of women and promotes peaceful coexistence with one's neighbors, humanity, and the environment. "O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord Who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from them twain hath spread abroad a multitude of men and WOMEN. Be careful of your duty toward Allah in Whom ye claim (your rights) of one another and toward the WOMBS (WOMEN). Lo! Allah hath been a watcher over you."
This site-specific installation predominantly consists of African wax, Kente, Batik, and Tie and dye fabric scraps collected from seamstresses across Africa, the Caribbean, and the United States. Symbolically, it represents groups of women from diverse communities. The piece was created collaboratively with visiting families at the Children's Museum of Manhattan, NY; this interactive process demonstrates a commitment to community, self-love, and cultural and historical references. There is a universal undertone to the installation through the collected fabrics, the portraits, and the communal process that highlights the commonalities of humanity and shared experiences.
Archival inkjet print
12" x 18"
This piece speaks of Bharoocha's personal life experiences as someone born into Muslim culture, where he encountered the effects of racism toward Muslim people directly after 9/11 while living in New York City. The image towards the top is of Bharoocha's father, an optimistic immigrant with the World Trade Center standing high in the background as he rides the Staten Island Ferry. Bharoocha also placed an image of the Kaaba into the composition as he has strong memories of seeing the structure at his grandmother's home when he was a child. The Freedom Tower is also woven into the center structure to create a hybrid monument built from the artist's personal experiences of watching the Twin Towers fall with his own eyes in 2001 and seeing the new tower being built in their place.
As a culturally mixed race person, Bharoocha has had to juggle between his Japanese and Muslim cultural backgrounds while also trying to assimilate into American culture as a child growing up in southern California. In this piece, Bharoocha tries to convey positivity and inner growth pouring out from the center, which is an expression of how the acceptance of third culture people has given him the freedom to understand and embrace his cultural identity.
Archival inkjet print
18" x 12"
In this piece, Bharoocha highlights the idea that Muslim culture is not one-dimensional but rather layered with the experiences and identities of people coming from many different countries and ethnic and cultural backgrounds, all united as one by their beliefs.
The Force is Female, 2020
Islamic prayer rug, mixed textiles
46" x 24"
"Priority" Lyrics by Yasiin Bey, 2020
Islamic prayer rug, mixed textiles
46" x 24"
Samira Idroos is a devoted and intentional artist. Idroos' conceptual works combine distinct cultural references to story-tell around shared histories and engage in critical commentary. She employs religious texts and pop culture symbology to progressively question dynamics of power, gender, and ownership.
Idroos' training in painting guides her process and compositional vocabulary. In her current body of work (2020 - present), Idroos uses prayer rugs as a platform to study the boundaries of history, language, and materiality. The prayer rug becomes a portal of universal themes. Idroos recontextualizes the ancient object through designs that vary in text, scale, shape, and images. Idroos blends sacred and secular symbology to catalyze necessary conversations around capitalism and colonialism.
In a mainstream culture that often misrepresents Islam, Idroos's artistic process and research-based approach allow her to negotiate belonging and facilitate connections. Her syncretic identity draws from multiple cultures. She is influenced by her love of music, especially hip-hop. Idroos gives homage to the lands she comes from as well as the land she inhabits, paying special attention to Black and indigenous histories. Her work is subtle, poetic, and provocative.
As Idroos expands this series, she plans to diversify source materials to include recyclable and found textiles, incorporate other mediums, implement structural elements and foray further into the realms of conceptual art.
Portrait of the Artist, 2016
Suite of four etchings
Accompanying collaborative text with Ayad Akhtar
26.98" x 20.86"
Collection of National Portrait Gallery,
Published by Pace Editions, Inc.
In this suite of four etchings, entitled Portrait of the Artist in a nod to James Joyce, Sikander blends portraiture of herself and Akhtar with imagery related to the Mi'raj—the mystical night journey of the Prophet Muhammad from the Great Mosque in Mecca to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and his ascension to heaven for an encounter with God. Variously interpreted as either a literal or metaphorical journey, the concept of the Mi'raj is a powerful theme in Islamic art and literature. For Sikander and Akhtar, this mystical journey becomes an important touchstone for artistic (re)imagination. Akhtar expresses this idea in his text:
For what else is Miraj if not the fulfillment of any artist's deepest longing: to have made a journey into the great unknown— to have seen the unseeable—and to return to the world as we know it with the capacity to express the inexpressible?
Sikander draws on imagery from Central Asian, Persian, and Indian miniature paintings in her art. These visual quotations, seen in the silhouetted white figure of Muhammad (PBUH) on the mythical winged creature Buraq, the Archangel Gabriel, and in the celestial beings (peris), are inspired by historical Mi'raj paintings in the collections of the British Library and the Topkapı Palace Museum. In addition to art historical allusions, Sikander's imagery also makes reference to eminent literary sources. The illustrated manuscripts of the Khamsa by twelfth-century Persian poet Nizami, the fifteenth-century Persian Mi'rajnama, and Qur'anic literary traditions all play a role for Akhtar and Sikander, as do Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises (1926), and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (1916).
ZULFIKAR ALI BHUTTO
Heaven 58 جنہ ۵۸
7 min excerpt
Heaven 58 جنہ ۵۸ is one of four films in ABJD, a series that narrates the otherworldly journeys of Faluda Islam - Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's alter-ego. Faluda was a fighter in a great future queer-led revolution that liberated the Muslim world from Western and Western-sponsored tyranny; she was killed in a battle and exists now as ghost, zombie, jinn, and alien.
She appears as each of these beings in each of the four films while simultaneously speaking to figures from resistance past in an attempt to understand her own story. This project is heavily inspired by Islamic mysticism and spiritual traditions that speak to loss, memory, and resilience. Additionally, it is dedicated to Bhutto's late father, Mir Murtaza Bhutto.
Acrylic Spray Paint on Canvas
52" x 64"
Nothing is a custom canvas produced for this collection in the classic Mesghali colorway of fully saturated Blue on Red. The word expressed in calligraphy says "Heech" / "هیچ", literally "nothing." It was chosen in homage to Iranian sculpture artist Parvis Tanavoli known globally for his series of metal sculptures depicting the same word in an alternative calligraphic style. The word "nothing" is the sole focal point of this work due to its obvious existential implications; we came from nothing, we end up as nothing, and we are floating on a space rock through expanding nothingness.
Here I Come, 2021
Oil and mixed media on canvas
36" X 48"
Abdourahman, a Somali-Indian multidisciplinary artist, creates work inspired by her personal heritage as she explores themes of identity, family, and societal issues. Her work aims to offer visibility and representation to Black figuration and Somali-Indian heritage within Canadian art spaces. Abdourahman's paintings are often oil-based with the inclusion of collage. Drawing from her graphic design background, her creative process begins with applying digital collage to images from her family's photo albums. These compositions are then printed in mosaic tile format and incorporated into her oil paintings.
The place where you want to go is nowhere, 2022
5 min 38 sec
The place where you want to go is nowhere is an audio-visual experience through a Sufi-inspired virtual landscape that is a fusion of memories, documentation, and feelings. The visuals by Awan, sound by Beast Nest ("Frog" from the album Sicko), and movement by Malia Hatico-Byrne converge to create a transcendental landscape. Awan acknowledges the omnipresence of advancements in technology within each space; archways become portals through which the viewer is made aware of the digital architecture. Simultaneously, the movements of Hatico-Byrne and the audio by Beast Nest echo meditative Sufi practices.
YUSSEF COLE & SANIYA AHMED
Interactive narrative video game
Bedouin explores how genres like science fiction can be turned away from stories about intrepid white male explorers discovering and subjugating other lands to stories about those who are subjugated fearing discovery by that explorer. The story of Bedouin centers on an ambitious and driven matriarch: a woman scorned, powerful and fearsome. But she is not the hero – she isn't even present for much of this chapter. Instead, we play in her shadow as one of her innumerable and expendable clones. We are set on escaping from under her shadow, on finding freedom by any means and through anyone who would try and stop us. Our character is empowered by the player's knowledge but also by the help of her sisters.
Cole's mother grew up in the deserts of Tunisia to a family of settled bedouins. They soon traveled north to its capital and settled further. Cole's childhood was alive with his mother's stories of life in the desert: avoiding camels, picking dates, weddings that went on for days, cacti, and their delicious forbidden fruits. His mother is also a strong matriarch born to other strong matriarchs. To live in the desert requires nothing less than endless resolve. But as much as it requires recognizing danger, one must also be ready to welcome in friends and the life-sustaining aid that their intimacy and trust can provide.
Ahmed's illustrative work often depicts women surviving in hostile places, standing together, and being ready to take on whatever comes next. She collaborated with Cole to transform the scenes described to him by his mother to portray the far-off desert world, which sets the stage for Bedouin.
Cruising: Other Ways of Love, 2020
Childhood memories, everyday surroundings, intimate encounters, interior objects, abstract landscapes, and faceless portraits are recurring themes in Abdullah Qureshi's two-dimensional work. In moving image and durational projects, he situates artistic concerns from the personal into more expansive conversations on critical histories, visual culture, and social justice. Qureshi's films take a camp performance-based approach to portray scenes, symbols, and non-linear narratives that extend his visual language, questions on identity, and queer genealogies outside the Western canon.
Cruising: Other Ways of Love employs a fictional and experimental narrative, exploring cruising from a mythological and queer perspective. The visuals draw on personal memories and encounters of the artist, extending characters and symbols from the paintings of Anwar Saeed (b. 1955). The music is composed by Zan and includes the voices of Fares, Hassan Tariq, and extracts from a conversation conducted by Abdullah Qureshi in Marseille, France, with queer Muslim friends talking about cruising.
Sorry My Back is Facing You, 2017
Embroidery floss, fiberglass mesh, glass rods
36" x 60"
Sorry My Back is Facing You is a literal and visual translation of an Iranian custom where if one sits with one's back facing another, one would need to apologize to that person. The response to the apology translates to "a flower has neither a back nor a front side."
Congo Square, 2020
Virtual Reality Installation
6' x 10'
Congo Square is an Afrofuturist creation myth. The birth of jazz music had a revolutionary effect on Afro-diasporic culture. In this moment, African descendants used musical technology to conjure ancestral spirits and reconstruct African rituals for the healing and self-determination of their communities.
Digital representations of a Kikongo Power Figure and a Byeri Fang (West African religious artifacts) are used in this work to construct a virtual ancestral world. Hip-hop sampling techniques are used as an audio-visual experience to create the virtual scene as well as the musical accompaniment, which emanates from the figures floating above the viewer. Paulin incorporates the virtual form of a manilla, a bronze bracelet used as currency in the Transatlantic slave trade, as a motif for the African Diaspora. These forms, or floating signifiers, guide the viewer along the various platforms.
Virtual reality as a medium allows for a work that is as visually immersive as listening to music on headphones; users are therefore able to explore human-computer interaction as a religious/spiritual experience. The V.R. headset functions as a portal between the physical world and the world of ancestral spirits, blurring the lines between the ritual object and consumer technology.
Printed prayer rug
36" x 25"
Abedifard's artistic practice takes the form of comics, animations, illustrations, and hybridization of digital and analog media. She is drawn to sensual figurative depictions of gender and sexuality interspersed throughout Islamicate iconography and within her Iranian first-generation diasporic heritage. Her work is consciously and unconsciously informed by iconographies from this Perso-Islamic background. Using this lexicon, Abedifard explores the tension presented when the colonial project often classifies non-Western cultures as 'traditional' while casting itself as 'modern.'
Inspired by portraits historically commissioned by caliphates, this textile piece subverts tradition by illustrating a connection to and appreciation of nature by a regal, sensual figure. Abedifard's piece disrupts expectations of caliph imagery by leaning into a distinctly contemporary, comic-inspired style. The rug format calls to traditions of tapestries and other woven artworks but the process and materials used to create it are quite obviously 'modern.'
Untitled 14, 2021
Untitled 15, 2021
Acrylic on Canvas
23.62" x 23.62"
Naima's paintings are inspired by the geometrical grammar of his Arab-Berber and African culture, as well as the endogenous practices of the millennium that continue to survive through the ages. He is inspired by the world around him: the old town's streets, a local carpet shop, a ceramic object, or even a small piece of jewelry may motivate him to create. In geometry, Naima sees hidden meanings, connections, fundamental structures, and deliberate simplification, proving that everything complicated is, in fact, simple. To feel this meaning, it is necessary to disconnect from reality. Because his works lack verbal messages, Naima allows the viewer to develop their interpretation based on their own subjectivity and knowledge.
ASCII Rug Pattern, 2021
Digital medium ASCII characters
Bismillah - Old English Style Arabic Calligraphy, 2021
Ink on paper
Brooks explores and reveals the complexities of traditional Islamic art to help educate and inform its present development. New technologies offer a rich avenue for progress with their precision and ability to multiply individual efforts. When he researches old forms and attempts to recreate them digitally, Brooks hopes the new images continue to share the original inspiration. He documents his explorations to help others explore and expand the form.
JOY AMINA GARNETT
Pollen & Fragments, 2019
Suite of 8 artist books in different sizes
Produced in response to materials in the Abushady archive
Pollen & Fragments draws on materials left behind by Garnett's late maternal grandfather, the Egyptian Romantic poet, publisher, and beekeeper Ahmed Zaky Abushady (1892-1955). Its title refers to a philosophical work by the German Romantic poet Novalis ("Blütenstaub" or Pollen, 1798), which consists of laconic, dreamlike, and often mystical texts. Utilizing memoir writing, collage, printmaking, and artist books, Pollen & Fragments incorporates vernacular materials from her family archive that date from the early 20th century, including photographs and snapshots, drawings, poetry, letters, and diaries. The resulting works draw on the fertile metaphors of pollination, hybridity, bee culture, and beekeeping while remixing found materials to generate new narrative possibilities and give expression to Garnett's interest in the porous boundaries between fact and fiction, the elusiveness of alternative histories, and the fragility and vulnerability of novel forms.
.5” x 24” x 36”
Ummah (community in Arabic) is a prayer rug made of wood and oriented towards the Qibla (direction of prayer). In Islam, monuments like mosques that are built to memorialize one person become spaces of community worship and gathering, and prayer rugs found in mosques are shared by people as they engage in vulnerable moments of prayer. This prayer rug made of wood, a traditionally soft object made rigid, represents Ahmadi's own discomfort in navigating the intersection of her identities with Islam. Yet the object maintains elements of softness through the colorful yarn fringe and soft grain of the wood that is left largely untouched. The depth of the mihrab (central design) and engravings which are formed from an indent in the wood, represent Ahmadi's labor in literally and metaphorically creating space for her identities to coexist. The engravings are verses from the Quran and hadith on finding tranquility in community and treating others kindly and equitably. This piece is a monument of collectivism and coexistence of identity.
Imagining Ardabil, 2020
Oil on canvas
42" x 30"
Imagining Ardabil is a painting inspired by the Ardabil Carpets, a pair of ancient Persian rugs that were taken from an Islamic shrine, separated, altered, and placed in Western museums. Ahmadi incorporated the colors and patterns of the Carpets into the woman's dress; she reclaims the artwork by wearing it proudly. The woman interrogates the audience with a heavy gaze that demands answers for how colonialism has disrupted connections with cultural identity by displacing and fragmenting art and artifacts.
The Wars That Ripen Us, 2021
Metal and belly dancing coins
4" x 18" x 22"
The Wars that Ripen Us is a heavy, noisy, fabulous sun hat. It is made of metal to reference armor, something that protects but that is also deeply tied to histories of war. On the top of the hat rests the words of Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, who writes in his book In the Presence of Absence, "Do not regret the war that ripened you."
These words are bent out of metal in Arabic in a fluid gestural fashion and welded onto the hat. This piece is full of intentional contradictions; it is a floppy but heavy, metallic, and uncomfortable sun hat, reflective of Ahmadi's hope for a future of joy and rest for marginalized people – but also one that holds a reminder of the weight and challenges of the past. It is wearable but not functional due to the space between the rings of the hat, which preserves it as an object of celebration over function. The piece is somber but joyful, containing literal and metaphorical references to war but also being adorned with noisy belly dancing coins that also partially obstruct the wearer's gaze while wearing the hat. Ahmadi invites viewers to try on the hat and consider the wars that have ripened them and given them the perspective to imagine a just future.
Archival inkjet print
15" x 15"
Archival inkjet print
18.75" x 15"
Chaoui used to drive from France to Morocco when visiting their father's relatives during the summer.; once there, he loved to imagine mysteries and conspiracies all around. Once, they even persuaded themself that their grandfather hid a secret lab under the kitchen.
Years later, Chaoui's work is an homage to his roots; with his work, he intends to give back to the MENA and Muslim communities. Robots and flying cars are a pretext to explore the ideas of community, diversity, and love. These works give life to what Chaoui hopes future generations will experience.
Intergalactic Hijrah, 2021
Suite of two archival inkjet prints
18" x 12"
11" x 16"
The echoes of the 1947 British-administered partition of India still reverberate throughout the subcontinent and South Asian diaspora. Painful memories of massacres, arson, and sexual violence are inflamed by present-day brutalities against Muslims under a powerful Hindu nationalist political party.
Sometimes all one can do in the face of despair is to be curious, imaginative, and playful – those are, at least, Dosani's weapons of choice. She used archival photographs of panic-stricken Muslim refugees fleeing their homeland to create collages that reimagine one of the bloodiest upheavals in human history as a cosmic expedition to a better future.
Self Help: Artifacts, 2022
Hardcover books, picture ledges
60" x 45.25"
Safwat Saleem is a visual artist whose practice ranges from graphic design, illustration, and writing to film and sound. His work aims to give visibility to immigrant narratives that are lost in an attempt to belong.
Saleem's installation Self Help, intended for an audience in the distant future, explores the themes of being a parent, an immigrant, and a Muslim in America living through the pandemic. Using book covers as the canvas, the installation reveals a narrative of a challenging past that immigrants and Muslims overcame to build a more hopeful future.
What If Exploration, 2018-2019
Suite of three archival inkjet prints
27.25" x 19.5"
The What If Exploration is a visual narrative that confronts white supremacy, the social, economic, and political ideology used to subjugate black civilization via colonial rule and enslavement in history and via structural racism today. Many white people have been socialized into racial illiteracy that fosters white supremacy. This racial illiteracy fails to realize and understand the destructive effects of Western dominance on the rest of the world, particularly on past and present Africa and her diaspora. In response, utilizing discursive design, the collection constructs a counter-story that depicts a shift in the power structure in which the white oppressor is placed in the historical experience of the black oppressed. Moving forward from the past, contemporary society is visualized where black people are the dominant force.
SOLARPUNK SURF CLUB
Solarpunk Futures, 2021
Solarpunk Futures is an artist's game for collaborative utopian visioning, working in (and against) the conventions of tabletop role-playing whereby players use a deck of illustrated cards as prompts to envision pathways to a desirable world. The game's visual language engages the iconographic traditions of Art Nouveau stained glass, German expressionist woodcuts, and Japanese karuta through a pastel palette informed by palliative design. Computer augmented printmaking techniques involving a robotic drawing arm, and AI-image processing concretize a microcosmic example of technology integrated within democratic social processes and emancipatory goals.
The game's social structure enables players to approach the seemingly insurmountable challenges of today's material world through serious play, interdependence, and radical possibility. This unity of means and ends in the game's design, production, practice, and distribution is intended to integrate its politics of utopia-as-process, in which every component forms a supportive aspect of the whole.
Solarpunk Futures can therefore be conceived as a processual system—a dialectic between the printed matter, technics, design, and illustration as well as the relational arts of gameplay, utopianpolitik futuring, and dialogue itself. Through this collaborative performance of memory, visionary narratives emerge of a free and ecological society–rooted in the limitless potentialities of our interrelations in the present.
The Celtic Arab: Environmental Design, 2018
The Celtic Arab: Character Design, 2018
Suite of three archival inkjet prints
14" x 10"
The works presented are part of a greater project initiated by DiarBakerli's Master's thesis titled "Creating a Compelling Interactive Narrative Encouraging Deeper Cultural Exploration." It follows the tale of Eyvind, a Celtic Crusader, who washes ashore somewhere in North Africa. Little does he know, he has traveled in time into the golden age of the Islamic World.
The narrative is designed from the perspective of ignorance and bigotry; as it reveals new lands and unique characters, the viewer develops a love and appreciation for the people on their journey to the Holy Land of Jerusalem.