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Arts Programming

CMW recognized the power of art as a universal language that speaks across cultures early on as we started to strive to build understanding between Muslim women and the larger community to address the prevalent stereotypes about Muslim women. Noticing the number of newcomer and young Muslim women artists in KW, looking for connections to the larger art and culture scene, CMW launched art programming in 2015 under “Illuminate Arts KW” project. CMW has since continued to offer art programming and connections and networking opportunities to Muslim women and girls artists. THEMUSEUM in downtown Kitchener and Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery have been generous collaborators in CMW’s art programming endeavours. THEMUSEUM has hosted three annual art exhibits since 2016 along with a number of other artistic collaborations. Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery primarily housed the Illuminate Arts Project in 2015 – 2016 and has hosted several calligraphy workshops since.

Islamic Art: Muslim Women's Narration

CMW is very pleased to collaborate with artist and calligrapher Ati Zar on her year-long project to run calligraphy workshops for youth, provide mentorship for Muslim women and artists and a present a public exhibition of the art work produced during the project activities. This project is supported by a grant from Ontario Arts Council. For more information about this project, send us an email at cmw.info@cmw-kw.org

September 29, 2018 – January 6, 2019

Connections and Contexts

For the third consecutive year, CMW collaborated with THEMUSEUM to present an exhibition to showcase the artistic talents of Muslim women artists. Islamic art is often associated with calligraphy, complex geometric patterns, intricate arabesque designs and miniature paintings. These recognizable Islamic art forms operate as stereotypes that can limit an understanding of contemporary art practices. Artists Soheila Esfahani, Melika Hashemi, Jamelie Hassan and Sumaira Tazeen demonstrated what it means to be a contemporary artist of Islamic background in Canada. Their artwork pushed traditional boundaries by focusing on cultural identification and socio-political issues. The launch of the exhibit in October 2018 was attended by about 100 art lovers to celebrate the Women’s History Month and the Islamic History / Heritage Month.
October 4 – 31st, 2017

Celebrating Identity

With funding from Ontario 150, CMW organized “Celebrating Identity”, a month long art exhibit at THEMUSEUM in Kitchener, ON, showcasing the art work of immigrant Muslim women artists, with a particular focus on engaging young women. The theme of the exhibit was to celebrate beautiful yet complex, multi-layered identities that often exist in first generation immigrants with a focus on what it means to be a Canadian and Ontarian for these newcomer Muslim women artists. Having the exhibit in the month of October allowed the artists and visitors to draw upon three major events: Canada and Ontario’s 150th celebration, Islamic History Month celebrations and Women’s History Month’s celebrations, all very relevant to the newcomer Muslim women artists.
June 1 – 28, 2016

Defining Identity Exhibit

Illuminate Arts was very pleased to present its first ever month long Art Exhibition in collaboration with Kitchener’s THEMUSEUM from June 1st – 28th, 2016. 16 Muslim women artists participated in the exhibition, focusing their work on the theme of Defining Identity. The artists showcased their art work in a variety of mediums such as calligraphy, mosaics, sketching and much more. Exhibit’s public launch was attended by 150 guests and dignitaries. The exhibition was a terrific success!
formally launched on March 14, 2015

Illuminate Art Project

The Illuminate art project encompassed a series of artistic events that took place over 18 months in Kitchener Waterloo with the aim to connect Muslim women artists with the larger art and culture scene. The project emphasized the capability and artistic talent of newcomer Muslim women artists, with a focus on young artists. The project also offered Muslim women an opportunity to showcase their artistic talents in a safe space, while being engaged with the larger community. Several art workshops and coffee houses were held at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery in 2015, with two calligraphy workshops and another coffee house presented in 2016. The Illuminate project was funded by the Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation and the City of Waterloo, and received great support and housing from Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery.