New York hosts 10-day Muslim Voices: Arts & Ideas Festival

platessoukcrop(June 4, 2009) — In celebration of the extraordinary range of artistic expression in the Muslim world, the Muslim Voices: Arts & Ideas event, an unprecedented ten-day festival and conference will take place June 5–14, 2009 throughout New York City.

More than 100 artists and speakers from as far away as Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and as near as Brooklyn, will gather for performances, films, exhibitions, talks, and other events, ranging from the traditional calligraphy, storytelling, and Sufi devotional voices) to the contemporary (video installations and Arabic hip-hop).

Singer Youssou N’Dour, visual artist Shirin Neshat, actor Naseeruddin Shah and choreographer/dancer Sardono Kusumo will highlight the festival

Festival presentations and programs aim to present multiple perspectives from the Muslim world.

World renowned singer Youssou N’Dour will open the festival at BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House (30 Lafayette Avenue) on Friday, June 5 at 8pm.

Additional festival highlights will feature artists from India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Morocco, Afghanistan and Pakistan, among others.

In addition to the mainstage offerings and complementary education and humanities events from Asia Society, BAM, and NYU Center for Dialogues, programs associated with the Muslim Voices: Arts & Ideas festival will take place at locations including: American Museum of Natural History, Austrian Cultural Forum New York, Brooklyn Museum, MoCADA (Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The New York Public Library.

In celebration of Muslim Voices: Arts & Ideas, the Empire State Building and Brooklyn Borough Hall will be lit green from June 5—7. The color green has many significant associations in Islam and is considered auspicious.

“No more pressing issue faces the world today than the profound lack of understanding between Western and Islamic societies,” said Asia Society President Vishakha N. Desai. “Most non-Muslim Americans have very limited exposure to and even misconceptions about Islam, the world’s second-largest religion.”

Mustapha Tlili, NYU Center for Dialogues Founder and Director, added, “The divide between the United States and the Muslim world is rooted in hard political issues such as the question of Palestine, the war in Iraq, relations with Iran, and other points of contention.

Muslim Voices: Arts & Ideas aims to help change perceptions, foster mutual understanding and respect between the two sides, and pave the way for the solution of the hard issues.”

Details and full festival schedule: