Muslimness Interviews Muslim Women In The Arts

In the name of God, compassionate & merciful بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ | Peace be with you السلام عليكم

Part I

In my youth the very concept of Muslim women working outside the home or earning a living was taboo. Therefore the notion of Muslim women excelling in the fields of art, production and media was what you'd call a unicorn: it didn't exist.

But these conservative barriers have been flung open by {Muslim Women In The Arts}, who are, in my opinion, a pure organisation and blog team dedicated to exhibiting and supporting raw talent, from the likes of film makers and graphic designers to handicraft artists and painters.

I got in touch with Nadia Janjua, the co-ordinator behind MWIA in this exclusive introductory interview about why the group was created, and which eminent artists have joined.

I gladly present this as Part I of our Muslim Women In The Arts series.



Nadia, would you kindly tell us about MWIA, what are your organisation's aims and what do you do?

Muslim Women in the Arts (MWIA) is a support group for Muslim women who seek to express and share their talents, creativity and ideas in any form or medium. We help provide platforms through online, and in person networks for women of any age to receive mentorship in the arts, to share their creative productions at MWIA events, as well as those of partnering groups, and have a space to discuss and explore ideas about how art can inspire spiritual and social change.


As the co-ordinator, what role do you have - how are you involved in the arts?


I'm also an artist and architect from the Washington, D.C. area; I manage my own architectural design business called {NJArtitecture}, and freelancing as an artist. You can contact Nadia at nadiaj@njartitecture.com.

I have been drawing and painting since my childhood years, and I consider art and aesthetics to be a part of everything I do.

"Art for me is one of the most significant and influential tools for giving hope to people.
For revealing beauty, for inspiring us to be reflective and thoughtful about our existence and our experience, art forms and refines a cultural and self identity."

My architecture consists of a focus on residential design and construction, and disaster relief work. I hope that my work can bring individuals from different backgrounds and experiences, together on the common ground so that we can all appreciate beauty in our own unique ways, and reflect on it in meaningful ways.

So being a Muslim and of a creative background, how do you connect your love for art with spirituality on Muslim Women In The Arts?


Underlying our pursuit and promotion of the arts is the desire for God-consciousness, a deep appreciation for spirituality and the process of reflection, and imbuing our practice of art with intention and purpose. Through our art, we hope to raise awareness and educate the general public of the beauty and depth of our Islamic identity.

What projects is Muslims Women In The Arts currently working on?


We are planning our first Art Exhibit of the year on April 22nd, 2011, in Silver Spring, MD. The theme will be "Healing & Empowerment: Violence, Women & Art".

In this one-day event, local artists will give voices to the victimization and empowerment of women affected by injustice and abuse, through their art.

Representatives of Women’s Empowerment groups, authors, social activists, and counselors will also be present to provide resources and raise awareness of these issues, as well as help connect the need for art as therapy and healing in this context. 

Check out more details on the {"Healing & Empowerment" event on MWIA}.



Stay up to date with MWIA::

To keep in the know with MWIA’s events and to learn more about the artists, please visit them on {facebook.com/pages/Muslim Women in the Arts}. Or get in touch on their blog at {http://mwiarts.wordpress.com/}. 


Finally, an immense thank you, shukran, to Nadia and the MWIA team.


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