This Saturday, April 27th, from 1-5 p.m., more than a dozen dedicated creatives — visual artists and writers alike — will gather at Ellicott City’s Miller Branch Library to present and perform their work. Light snacks will be served. If this sounds like another Baltimore-artsy salon story you’ve read 100,000 times, it’s not. All of the participating artists are Muslim visionaries who want to bridge a gap and begin a dialogue. And you’re enthusiastically invited.

In staging “Muslim Voices,” UB undergrad Aarzu Ahmed and her co-curator Irma Hashmi intend to increase art appreciation within their own Muslim community, where creativity is sometimes undervalued, and to increase throughout Baltimore the awareness of vital and beautiful Islamic art-making.

“So far, we have a feature artist; her name is Saffiyyah Abdullah,” say Ahmed. “We also have artists from amongst the community: Sara Beg, Sidra Ahmed (myself), Naeem Baig, Lobna Babiker, Laiba Masood, Mariam Ogunsanya, Radio Rahim, Anum Ali…and Mrs. Zulfikar.”

Ahmed’s hoping to pack a crowd of roughly 200 viewers.

“The target audience is all families,” Ahmed explains. “We feel that this event is important because in the Muslim community art has little appreciation. Parents and families rarely understand the importance and passion of the arts. This showcase is to promote talents that lie within our very own community — to help people see and appreciate art on a larger scale.”

If the co-curators can bring together an ultra-diverse audience, help make everybody feel at home and feel open and receptive, they’ll consider the day a great success.

“In terms of diversity, we want audience members from all parts of the world — any religion or culture,” Ahmed says. “…Muslim art is very different from other forms of art. Muslim Voices speak in various tones about different things, and we want the audience members to hear that voice and see that form of expression.”

Miller Brach Library – 9421 Frederick Road – Ellicott City

An example of Islamic calligraphy in professional creative action…

YouTube video