4 years ago
John Thottungal

The Islamic Art Revival Series lit up the Charles W. Eisemann Center in Richardson Satureday, Sept. 21, with displays of Islamic influenced art, calligraphy, movies and a fashion show.

“We want to project the beauty of Islamic art in our program today and this is our way of supporting local artists,” said Mona Kafeel, the chief operating officer at the Texas Muslim Woman’s Foundation, a group that organized the event.


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The foundation which has been serving the Plano and neighboring communities since 2005 sponsored and organized this series for the second year, to bring the beauty of Islamic art to the local communities.

The mezzanine gallery, which showcased the exhibition, featured 47 pieces of artwork in various mediums such as oil, acrylic, photographs and wood ranging in prices from two hundred to ten thousand dollars.

“When I start painting, it is a mystic spiritual journey for me,” said Shafaq Ahmad, a painter whose art was showcased.

Ahmad, who also set up the art exhibition for the series, had two paintings that were both selling for ten thousand dollars each.

The paintings featured her inner spiritual journey as she meditates while painting often reciting the names of God. Both 74-by-74 inches oil on linen paintings had specific names of God in Arabic calligraphy painted into the red hues of light and dark depicting her spiritual journey.


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The series had non-stop events throughout the day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in addition to the art exhibit, and drew huge crowds. A hundred volunteers from the foundation, community and from the Muslim Students Association at UTD helped the whole day move along smoothly.

“The committee is full of very passionate people, every one is a volunteer,” said Myra Ali an international and political economy major freshman at UTD.

Ali has been involved with the series since last year when it debuted for the first time. She joined it before she entered UTD and talked about the hard work that went into organizing and the positive response and reception from the community.

Last year, 1,300 people attended the series, Kafeel said, and this year two of the forty-seven paintings — <em>Eid Celebrations</em> by Sophia Sattar and <em>Ummayad Pattern</em> by Richard Henry — sold early in the day.

The series had fun hands-on-activities for the whole family with demonstrations in calligraphy, painting and henna hand painting. One local company, Istickerize, gave away 500 mirrors to visitors who were taught how to imprint beautiful intricate calligraphy into the mirrors.

Henna painting and the ethnic costume dress up were some of the more popular activities.

The fashion show aptly named <em>Fashion influenced by Islamic design featured was organized by local designer Yasmina Johnston quickly brought the entire crowd at the center to the catwalk featuring models wearing glittering robes and middle-eastern styled abbayas.

In addition to the fashion show, there were talks, documentaries and dances that kept visitors engaged till they series closed at five.

“It is our aim for the series to be featured at mainstream art galleries and museums such as the Trammel-Margaret Crow collection of Asian art in the future,” Kafeel said. “It is important to support our local artists and engage our local community in the beauty of Islamic culture in a time where a positive message is needed.”