Exhibiting Beauty and Diversity Through Art

Calligraphy - Shaista Chisty, England

The Second International Muslim Artists Exhibition 2010 [IMAE2010] will take place on Nov. 26 in New Orleans, LA.

“[It] will feature original 2D artwork created by contemporary Muslim artists from around the globe,” Haitham Eid, founder and curator of the exhibit said.  “The exhibit will include panel discussions about Islamic art, culture and history. IMAE2010 will run in conjunction with the 4th Annual International New Orleans Middle East Film Festival at the same venue.

The free event will take place on Nov. 26 – Dec. 31 at the Zeitgeist Multidisciplinary Arts Center .

Eid, 32, art teacher, visual artist and human rights activist said the first exhibition took place in 2007, sponsored by New Orleans African-American Museum, Southern University at New Orleans, the International Museum of Muslim Cultures and the New Orleans Musician Clinic.

“The exhibit featured more than 75 pieces of artwork created by more than a dozen Muslim artists from the United States, England, Switzerland, Egypt, Algeria, Gabon and Kuwait,” he said. “The exhibit was well received from the art community in New Orleans and from the public.”

“Artists received proclamation letters from the City Council of New Orleans and I received a proclamation from the Mayor, Ray Ragin, at that time for “Promoting International Understanding through the Arts,” he said.

Eid said they have been receiving an overwhelming about of applications from around the world.

“It looks like the participation of women Muslim artists will be sixty to seventy percent,” he said.

Everybody is welcome to attend and to be part of the effort which shows contemporary Muslim artists creations.

“The exhibit has received support from Muslim and non-Muslim communities and attendance is widely open to all those who are interested in learning about contemporary Muslim artists.”

Paintings and 2D mixed media art have been the most popular art entries they have received so far, Eid said.

Eid said art is imperative these days, especially as a form of expression for Muslims.

“Art is the highest form of human expression. It is a universal language and a bridge that brings people from different backgrounds together,” he said. “It is important now more than ever for Muslims to use art as a means to communicate with non-Muslim communities and introduce the beauty and diversity within the Islamic culture.”

Eid believes Muslim communities need to be more active in displaying Islamic cultures.

“Muslims in America have established numerous and amazing mosques and schools to pray and educate their children yet we are missing the establishment of cultural, educational and research institutions to inform and educate non-Muslims about the Islamic cultures. America is in need for museums, art centers and publications that tell fairly and constructively the story of Muslims.”

If you are an artist who is interested in show casing your art work at the exhibition, click here.

                                                                Aya A. Khalil

Aya A. Khalil is a freelance journalist and doing her M.A. in Education at College of Charleston.