A bilingual art anthology, Ottawa Inshallah, that features local Muslim artists was released during an online event on October, 21.
The anthology, a collaboration between local artist Aquil Virani and the Silk Road Institute, features contributions from 19 artists who dream of a better future.
“I can hope that this anthology will raise the profile of Muslim artists in Ottawa while educating the broader public about who we are and what we believe in – all while asserting our right to be represented on our own terms,” says Aquil Virani.
“I wanted to create an opportunity for us to dream of a better future, to be positive, to help folks understand: We are more than our trauma. Muslims are more than resistors of prejudice. We are human beings with dreams and fears. With skills and imperfections. And we will be okay, inshallah.”
The interdisciplinary project started with an open call for submissions in any visual medium that could fit on a printed page – whether drawing, photography, henna art or poetry and writing.
The submissions were evaluated by a jury of three people — Muslim Link editor-in-chief Chelby Marie Daigle; poet-musician Jamaal Jackson Rogers; and former National Gallery of Canada assistant curator of contemporary art Nicole Burisch, who’s now director of the FOFA Gallery at Concordia University.
The artists and writers in the anthology include: Pansee Atta, Assma Basalamah, Monia Mazigh, Noor Siddiqi, Sarah-Mecca Abdourahman, Shamima Khan, Self_Saboteur (Naheen Ahmed), Aliya Amarsi, Maria Malik, Zubair Hossain, Mariam Gabr, Marwa Talal, Anisa Khan, Arzoo Zaheer, Adil Amarsi, Anonymous / Anonyme, Iman Korenic, and Zainab Hussain. There is also an artwork and introduction by Algonquin Anishinaabe artist, Dara Wawatie-Chabot.
On the choice of the title for the book, Virani says, “I wanted something short and snappy. ‘Inshallah’ is a wonderful word used by many Muslims meaning ‘God-willing.’ The influence of Islam and Muslim culture around the world means that ‘inshallah’ is also used by some to mean ‘hopefully’ in the same way some say ‘I will pray for you,’ whether religious or not. I see it as inclusive in that way.”