Publishing and Prizing Muslims Workshop

University of York

23 May 2014

 

On the 23rd of May, writers, academics and culture industry professionals gathered at University of York for the Publishing and Prizing Muslims workshop, organised by Dr Claire Chambers as part of the Muslims, Trust and Cultural Dialogue project. The aim was to discuss the emergence of Muslim writing as a critical and commercial category, to explore its place in the landscape of broader British Muslim cultural activities, and to examine those questions of trust which have accompanied it.

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MTCD in Culture, Community and the Arts

Date: Thursday 21 March 2013pattern10
Event: Seminar with the Dialogue Society and the Centre for the Study of Pakistan
Title: Muslims, Trust and Cultural Dialogue: Culture, Community and the Arts
Venue: SOAS, University of London, Room G.51.

 

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Second Glance/Double Take

A small exhibition, linked to the forthcoming "Beyond Islamophobia" conference, will take place in the foyer of the Khalili Lecture Theatre at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London from 7-14 June. ‘Second Glance/Double Take’ brings together works by Lahore- and London-based Pakistani fine artists that connect in both bold and subtle ways with the themes of the conference, which aims to examine the different forms and shapes Islamophobia takes; how it can be understood; and how society might think and see towards the more trusting intercultural relationships that may be established beyond it.

The large-scale and miniaturist paintings featured in the exhibition are by artists including the determinedly political and internationally-exhibited Faiza Butt, who now lives and works in East London; the Shia Hazara artist, Khadim Ali, who is based in Sydney; and Sajid Khan and Suleman Khilji, two emerging graduates from Lahore’s NCA. They explore in various ways how fears and impressions of a militant and terroristic Islam impact on the bodies and landscapes of "ordinary" Muslims – and in particular of young Muslim men of “fighting age” – both locally, and globally. Taking as material mug-shots and photo-stills excerpted from both the Western press and popular Pakistani culture, depicting the altered face of conveniently distant peoples and lands caught in the crossfire of the so-called “war on terror”, foregrounding images and retelling tales of peaceful Islamic practice and syncretism which unsettle predominant narratives, the artworks included in ‘Second Glance/Double Take’ function collectively to arrest and expand the audience’s gaze.

In 2014, in the UK, Muslim images continue to be constrained within predictable frames and their subjects rendered suspect. The visual artworks contained in the exhibition encourage viewers to look again: to take a second glance at mass-produced “representations”; to recognise how Islamophobic ways of seeing operate to manipulate and monopolise the gaze; and to retrain our attention on the much overlooked and misperceived Muslim lifeworlds that exist in their shadow. It is hoped that the contributions of Butt, Khan, Khilji and other contemporary Pakistani artists will help effect a “double take”, as we strive to see through and beyond stereotypical images of Muslims and towards the inculcation not of fear but of understanding.

 Madeline Amelia Clements

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