- Published on Wednesday, 30 November 2011 00:00
- Category: Art
What does liberation really mean? Words spoken without fear of death by torture? Or images spray-painted on the side of a building where a sniper once perched?
Graffiti as art serves as a powerful depiction of a nation’s history, leaving a timeless act of defiance in public settings. In Tunisia and Egypt, graffiti featured satirical images of respective dictators, but just the sheer volume of the Libyan graffiti alone sets it apart as a remarkable phenomenon. While a few bold lines called for freedom on buildings in Tunisia, and Egyptian walls featured demands for the ousting of Mubarak-as-last-Pharaoh, in Libya, multiple layers of images and multi-lingual text flood the eye—no space is left untouched in a frenzy of free expression. Forty two years of pent up defiance explodes on every possible surface. This is the symbolic legacy of Muammar Gaddafi.
More than just the cliched “writing on the wall,” these images narrate the stakes of the revolution and the gravity of ordinary Libyans rising up against their dictator.
- Published on Saturday, 22 October 2011 06:49
- Category: Art
In life, obstacles arise that test the ability of people to carry on. Some individuals have met with more than their fair share of tribulations. But some come away from such experiences galvanized and ready to tackle new challenges. Such is the case for Iraqi-American fashion designer, Oday Shakar.
Some are familiar with this Los Angeles based designer’s sumptuous gowns, enveloped with crystals and draped to perfection, which have appeared on such celebrities as Sandra Bullock, Adrina Patridge, and Jennifer Carpenter. But many do not know about the arduous journey Shakar had to take to get to where he is now. From his detainment in Iraq when he was a child, to his battle with cancer, Shakar has channeled his life’s rough patches into his creative process, resulting in some of the most stunning and unique designs on the runway, each a work of finely crafted art.
Aslan Media recently had the chance to speak with Oday Shakar about his upbringing, how he discovered fashion, and what inspires him to design. Growing up in Southern California, Oday Shakar was raised by his Iraqi immigrant parents who came to the United States in the 1970s. With an upbringing he calls “carefree,” Shakar had the freedom to develop a love and appreciation of the visual and performing arts. “I loved to dance, I loved music, and I loved drawing,” says Shakar.
The charmed life that Shakar had as a child was disrupted during a trip to Iraq when he was 12 years old. The Iraqi government detained Shakar for a year, not allowing him to return home to his parents, family, and familiar surroundings. “The government wouldn’t renew our visa to leave the country. I believe they were making it difficult because we were Americans trying to return to the states.” says Shakar.
- Published on Sunday, 04 September 2011 10:00
- Category: Art
When one thinks of Muslim art and culture, Dallas, Texas may not be the first place that comes to mind. A city known for big hair and even bigger personalities, Dallas seems like it would be the farthest thing from “the Muslim world” you could imagine. But hidden within this quintessential, western American city lives contemporary artist Adnan Razvi.
Working out of his private studio, Razvi creates provocative and challenging hybrid pop/graffiti artwork that deals with contemporary issues both foreign and domestic. Adnan Razvi recently sat down with Aslan Media to discuss his upbringing, what turned him on to art, and how he approaches his work.
Aslan Media: Give our readers an idea of your upbringing. Where were you born and raised and how did that impact your formative years?
- Published on Saturday, 20 August 2011 10:00
- Category: Art
After a year’s absence, the Noor Iranian Film Festival was back this month and full of energy at the James Bridges Theater in Los Angeles. From Aug 5-7, the festival showcased films exploring Iranian themes, offering a rich selection of cinematic gems for Iranian and non-Iranian audiences alike.
First held in 2007, the Noor Film Festival was the first Iranian film festival based outside of Iran. But due to the political unrest in Iran in 2010, and to show solidarity with the Iranian people, the fourth edition of the festival was delayed by a year.
- Published on Wednesday, 10 August 2011 10:00
- Category: Art
No two quests for love are same. While some people have it easy, others spend a lifetime looking for love. Personal character, traditions, religion, social status, and culture all uniquely define each individual’s experience of love. For a Muslim woman, the journey to find love may involve family consent, religious obligations, and, in some cases, awkward encounters with “matchmaking aunties.”
Shelina Zahra Janmohamed documents her experiences searching for a life partner and discovering the meaning of love in her memoir Love in a Headscarf Janmohamed’s decision to choose the conventional route in her search to find Prince Charming, circling within a close-knit British Muslim community, puts her at the mercy of matchmaking aunties, family friends, and friends of friends. Through her experiences, which are both humorous and profound, she dispels many myths that non-Muslims and Muslims alike ascribe to arranged marriages. She distinguishes between forced marriage and arranged marriage, shows that time-honored traditions can sometimes put you at odds with your faith, and explains how, in her view, Islam encourages you to choose your own life partner.
Her journey to find “Mr. Right” takes her on a topsy-turvy ride with a host of potential candidates. One played a practical joke on her during their first meeting just to see if she had a sense of humor. Another would-be husband dazzled her at first glance but only replied to her numerous texts and e-mails by saying that his house being hit by lightening. Still another insisted on meeting her for dinner and then asked to “go Dutch” even after telling her over the phone that he would never marry someone her height.