Artistic Expressions, Deep Impressions

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Amena shares three of her favourite new Muslim artists who have left deep impressions on her.

From the time when the phrase ‘Muslim culture’ would evoke exclusively Arab-centric images and cultural attributes, we now live in an age where many more expressions of Muslim culture have been brought forth into the limelight.

Gone are the days when the portrayal of Muslim pop culture was constrained and awkward. Nowadays, more and more Muslims from every part of the world have begun to venture into new and exciting areas of artistic expression. Nor is their expression ‘watered down’ to please the masses or forcibly decorated with all of the elements we are used to seeing on traditional art produced by Muslims.

These guys are bold, original and possess a flair that you can’t help but explore.

Suheir Hammad

Suheir is a Palestinian-American artist who uses words to paint her poetry, and what emotive, powerful images she concocts!

Suheir certainly doesn’t hold back in her writing – some would argue that this is a necessity for a political activist, but there is something more to Suheir than her outspoken attitude and strength of voice. She doesn’t succumb to the stereotypical expectations some may hold for Palestinian females. Her raw Brooklyn accent, often mixed with angry, pained and tender intonations, makes her stand out from the rest.

I first heard her poem ‘9/11’ and was hooked. Her ‘Mike Check’ and ‘Not your Erotic, not your Exotic’ both similarly convey fundamental messages which most Muslims can relate to. Check her out on YouTube and her website: http://www.suheirhammad.com.

Peter Gould

Peter is an Australian graphic designer and digital artist. In 2012, he was a winner of the National Multicultural Marketing Awards. It’s easy to see why he is in such high demand, having worked with big brands and created some fantastic pieces of work that you’ve probably already seen without realising he was the artist behind them! Peter’s photography is beautiful and often tugs at the spiritual string in your heart.

His other artwork and designs are cool, understated and often incorporate clean lines and thoughtful use of blank space. He currently runs a design studio with highly reputable clients such as Yusuf Islam, Zaytuna College and Sami Yusuf. I highly recommend checking out his work on his website: http://www.peter-gould.com.

Sami Yusuf

Sami is a British singer, songwriter and composer. He is of Azerbaijani descent and was raised in London.

Ah, Sami. The first time I heard one of his nasheeds (from the album ‘Al Mu’Allim’), I was in my cousin’s car. I was blown away by how beautiful his melodies sounded, how thought-provoking the words were and the distinctness of his style. He didn’t sound cheesy, the rhymes weren’t forced and – well, I guess I just connected with his songs.

I can’t even pick a favourite – so many of his songs are evocative, beautiful, yet melancholic and they always manage to trigger contemplation about Allah (Great and Glorious is He) and His beloved Messenger (upon whom be Peace). ‘My Ummah’ was my fajr time alarm on my old phone; ‘Asma Allah’ used to calm my hyper little boy when I was pregnant with him, and send my daughter to sleep when she was a newborn. I just love his work. His website is http://www.samiyusufofficial.com.

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