Visibility: On Muslim Women in Performance Arts

This post was written by guest contributor Rana Nazzal.

I had the honour of speaking with three local Ottawa artists about their identity as Muslim women in relation to performance arts.

A few years ago, I noticed a dramatic increase in the presence of Muslim women on stages in Ottawa, particularly in the fields of spoken word and slam poetry. I found their presence both welcoming and encouraging in a scene that may have otherwise been uncomfortable for myself and other Muslim women.

The reality is not necessarily that we are directly ousted from the arts. Rather, our invisibility in public spaces and media in the West is self-perpetuating. It is difficult to enter a space where we are not represented. As Muslim women break these boundaries and our visibility grows, others are encouraged to do the same. This is what has happened, at least, in the Ottawa poetry community. [Read more...]