Feminist beauty on display: The IARS Women’s Invitational Exhibition 2017

My mother used to say “History is rarely made without uppity women”, and I think Shafaq Ahmad of Texas would agree with her completely.

Shafaq Ahmad is IARS (Islamic Art Revival Series) Art Director and Exhibition Curator for this year’s Women’s Invitational.  The Islamic Art Revival Series was started by Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation (“Muslim Women for All Women”), founded in 2005 to strengthen families of all faiths by fostering volunteerism, education, and cultural understanding through interfaith outreach.

Two considerations were vital to Director Shafaq as she selected the ten women to participate in this year’s invitational – each woman had to be a consummate art professional in her own right, and each woman was required to be a first generation immigrant to the United States.

From the Exhibition website:

This exhibition will focus on the art of these women artists who create work which not only reflects the strong bond to their own heritage but the experience of living in the USA, their new permanent home, and how this experience has influenced the work they are presenting now.

One of the truly remarkable women in Islamic history is the wife of the Prophet, Khadija bint Khuwaylid.  A true self-made success, she was well-educated, resourceful, and astonishingly successful in a time and place where all the cards had been stacked against her; she was so trusted by God and the Prophet she even became the first scribe of the Qur’an and holds the title “Mother of the Believers”.  A pillar of faithfulness, strength, courage, and all the very best aspects of feminism, her example remains applicable even to today.


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