by Amanda Quraishi
On March 8 (International Women’s Day), The International Museum of Women is debuting a special exhibit entitled Muslima: Muslim Women’s Art & Voices, featuring a collection of art and stories by contemporary Muslim women, unlike anything that has been collected before. The diversity of mediums used and subject matter are an excellent representation of the diversity of the global sisterhood of Muslimaat. Curator Samina Ali, the award-winning author of the novel MADRAS ON RAINY DAYS, says she scoured the globe to interview Muslim women who are making an impact on their communities: “Whether it’s fighting for equal justice under the law or creating images that challenge traditional notions of femininity, these women are part of a global movement that is elevating the role of Muslim women in society,” says Ali, an Indian-born Muslim who now lives in the Bay Area of California. “From the Arab Spring to the U.S. State Department, we are seeing unprecedented numbers of Muslim women involved in public life.” Exhibition At-a-Glance MUSLIMA’s multifaceted elements include:
- Exclusive interviews with fearless leaders like Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi of Iran; the first female prosecutor in Afghanistan, Sima Samar; and Sudanese women’s rights advocate Fahima Hashim. (Read Excerpts)
- Provocative artwork from renowned artists including Palestinian painter Laila Shawa; Yemeni photographer Boushra Almutawakel; and young Bahraini ‘zine creator Tamadher Al Fahim. (View Samples)
- A global community partnership with the Women’s Museum in Denmark, the Ayala Museum in the Philippines, and the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization in Sharjah, U.A.E., to engage a dynamic group of 40 young women in their 20s and 30s, called the “Muslima Ambassadors,” who are serving as advisors, contributors and co-curators for the project.
- “Muslima Stories” – a collection of multimedia mini-memoirs, consisting of 6 words and images, that launches with content from the global Muslima Ambassadors and is open to submissions from all Muslim women.
- Global Call for Submissions of multimedia work that represents a new generation of Muslim women and/or speaks to the myths and realities of Muslim women; content will be added to the exhibition on a rolling basis.
- The “Speak Up! Listen Up! ” Campaign to support the empowerment of Muslim women worldwide and to combat pervasive negative stereotypes.
Here is a small selection of the visual art that will be viewable on the site: I also encourage you to sign the pledge to support Muslim women who are speaking out for justice & equality, and breaking down stereotypes.