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New exhibit explores Muslim women's art and voices

A new exhibit called Muslima: Muslim Women’s Arts and Voices takes a deeper look at Muslim women and explores how they are one of the most misrepresented communities in the world. It’s currently showing at an online museum called The International Museum of Women.

For this exhibit, the museum partnered with museums in Denmark, the Philippines, and the United Arab Emirates to reach out to painters, authors, poets, writers, sculptors, and artists of all kinds in a mass movement of self expression. The result is an eclectic online exhibit of art reflecting the complexity of what it means to be a Muslim woman spiritually, socially, sexually, artistically—away from what the mainstream media brings to our screens.

KALW’s Hana Baba sat down with San Francisco author Samina Ali who curated the exhibit to discuss the many misconceptions that plague Muslim women.

SAMINA ALI: I spoke recently to a large group of graduate students here in San Francisco and one of the questions I asked this group of intellectuals was what is the first image you have when I ask you about a Muslim woman. And intellectuals in San Francisco said they’re weak, they’re veiled, they lack agency, they’re submissive, they’re illiterate. So if you think this is what’s happening here, what’s happening elsewhere with groups who are not intellectuals and with groups who aren’t actively trying to undo these stereotypes?

Click the audio player above to listen to the complete interview.


Hana Baba is host of Crosscurrents, KALW's weeknight newsmagazine that broadcasts on KALW Public Radio in the San Francisco Bay Area.