Friday Links

Loubna Abidar. Source.

Emma Watson met with Malala Yousafzai in an interview posted online this week. I will let you draw your own conclusions (more sources here and here).Speaking of Malala, U.S. Presidential candidate Marco Rubio named her as someone he would like to have a beer with. The Republican Party, always with its fingers on the pulse!An interesting article about “Lithuania’s Forgotten Muslim Heroes” in the Baltic Times.The Wall Street Journal has an article about barriers to voting in this week’ … [Read more...]

When Arab Women Artists “Revisit The Harem”

Originally published here.  Where does parody end and self-exoticization begin? At what point does the Arab woman artist, stepping into the so-often imagined space of "The Harem" risk pandering to an audience that seems to have a never-ending appetite for remediations of Orientalist artwork? Lebanese photographer Rania Matar's wonderful and insightful A Girl in Her Room series (capturing teenage girls in their most sacred space, the bedroom) includes some photographs that are clearly posed to m … [Read more...]

When Bridging Between Cultures Doesn’t Help

Image of the "Fragrant Concubine." [Source].

Responding to a question on the potential of art to transform at Jewish Book Week last year, Palestinian-Israeli writer Sayed Kashua commented: “Sometime people talk about culture and literature and art as something that can connect people together…to bridge between cultures. I hate bridging between cultures. It should be tunnels.”I was reminded of Kashua’s undercutting of too-easy attempts to celebrate the transformative potential of art by the recent revelation of a 3D cartoon which hopes t … [Read more...]

“Allah Makes Muslims, Allah Makes Queers”: A Interview with Terna Tilley-Gyado of Coming Out Muslim

coming out muslim

Coming Out Muslim: Radical Acts of Love is a storytelling performance that highlights the experiences of LGBT Muslims. While I was aware of Coming Out Muslim, I did not realise that one of the people behind the project is a West African Muslimah. I was connected with Terna Tilley-Gyado through a mutual friend Mikael Owunna and I am honoured to have had this interview with her.Anike: Please introduce yourself.Terna Tilly-Gyado: My name is Terna. I am a healer, artist, educator, and … [Read more...]

Marilyn Monroe in a Burqa: Commentary or Cliché?


Walking home recently, I rounded the corner from my apartment and noticed a poster that was banal and startling at the same time. I had previously written about the (mis)use of images of Muslim-looking women by Dutch non-profit organisations as an attention-grabbing device, which may or may not be related to the actual work being promoted. Here was another prime example: a film festival poster showing a pair of female legs and high heels peeking out under a blue burqa, blown about above a vent à … [Read more...]

The Syrian Trojan Women


On the 18th of December, the Syrian Trojan Women project staged a production of Euripides' tragedy The Trojan Women with a cast of Syrian refugee actors and crew in Amman. Their reinterpretation of this 2000-year-old play traces the parallels between the fates of the women of Troy and contemporary Syrian women refugees fleeing the violence in their country.As the project is described on the website: “Euripides’ The Trojan Women is set at the fall of Troy. It is about the fate of the def … [Read more...]

Dance Is How I Get Close to God: An Interview with Dancer and Upcoming Actress Isha Farha


Born into a family where art is a compulsion, Isha Farha started learning dance at the age of three from her mother, Kalamandalam Haseena. She is now adept in various Indian dance forms, including Bharathnatayam , Mohiniyattam, and Kuchipudi. She won the title of Kalathilakam in 2008 for excellence in the field of Bharathnatyam, Mohiniyattam, Kuchipudy, folkdance, one-act play and storytelling. She is the founder of the dance teaching institute Bharatha Bharathi.An engineer by profession, … [Read more...]