The Third Muslim: Queer and Trans* Muslim Narratives of Resistance and Resilience

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SOMArts Cultural Center presents The Third Muslim: Queer and Trans* Muslim Narratives of Resistance and Resilience co-curated by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Yas Ahmed. The second exhibition in the 2017–2018 season of the SOMArts Curatorial Residency, this group exhibition centers artists whose identities as queer, trans*, gender non-conforming and Muslim have consistently pushed them to the margins of the margins.

Opening with a free public reception on Thursday, January 25, 6–9 pm, The Third Muslim insists on the transformative potential of self-representation, revealing the multiplicity of Muslim and queer identities and experiences. Featuring 14 exhibiting artists ranging from Syrian to Somali to Pakistani heritage, The Third Muslim challenges gender-based oppression within Islam, as well as racism (specifically, colorism and anti-blackness) and Islamophobia within mainstream queer and trans* communities. The exhibition will build a visual archive of art and activism created by and for queer and trans* Muslims.

“We recognize that representation functions as connective tissue to the vibrant and complex history of art-activism that exists within the Bay Area to broader communities, including Muslim, queer and trans*, and artists. The exhibition also highlights struggles common among contemporary Muslim queer, trans* and gender non-conforming communities, regardless of locale, including displacement, diaspora, and hyphenated identities,” Bhutto and Ahmed observe of their curatorial debut for The Third Muslim.

The opening reception on January 25 will feature two Bay Area based queer Muslim poets as well as remarks from the curators. In addition, artists from the Poster Syndicate will be onsite to create live screen prints for reception attendees to take home.

Read more about the exhibition, including the curatorial vision and artist statements, here.

Other public programs in conjunction with the exhibition include Queering Islam: A community conversation and panel from 6–8pm on Thursday, February 8 and the closing storytelling performance by Wazina Zondon and Terna Hamida on Saturday, February 18, 1–4pm.

Kiyaan Abadani
Numair Abbasi
Samra Habib
Jamil Hellu
Ayqa Khan
Kaamila Mohamed
Hushidar Mortezaie
Laylatul Qadr
Abdullah Qureshi
Parisa Parnian
Eissa Saeed
Bobuq Sayed
Mohsin Shafi
Saba Taj
Nabeela Vega

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January 25–February 22, 2018
Gallery hours: Tuesday–Friday 12–7pm & Saturday 12–5pm

Opening Reception
Thursday, January 25, 6–9pm
The opening night celebration features performances and readings by local queer Muslim poets Serena W. Lin and Sarah O’Neal.

Queering Islam: A Conversation
Thursday, February 8, 6–8pm
A panel conversation representing an intergenerational, multi-identity group of community members who have made their own paths as queer Muslims in the realms of faith, fashion, leather and kink, often creating their own meaning and (sub)communities where none existed before. Panelists include Imam Daayiee Abdullah, Ali Mushtaq and Parisa Parnian. Moderated by Faluda Islam.

Closing Reception & Performance
Saturday, February 17, 1–4pm
Featuring Coming Out Muslim: Radical Acts of Love, co-conceived and performed by Wazina Zondon and Terna Hamida, the closing reception and storytelling performance will be accompanied by a talkback with audience members subsequent to the performance.

Image credit: The Third Muslim, photo by Chani Bockwinkel.

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