Beyond the veil: Two exhibits highlight the lives of Muslims in Brooklyn

Arabian sights: Mona Saeed Kamal’s installation, “1001 Migrations,” at Bric’s “Beyond Geographies” exhibit, features 1,001 paper boats to represent the movement of people across borders.
Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

We’re doubling down on Islamic art!

A pair of Brooklyn galleries are shedding light on the experience of the borough’s Muslim residents through sculptures, prints, projections, and multimedia exhibits. The twin display of work by Muslim artists marks a milestone for Kings County, according to one curator.

“There really hasn’t been a show of Muslim artists in Brooklyn,” said Elizabeth Ferrer, who organized a 35-piece exhibit for Fort Greene arts group Bric.

The two shows, at the Bric House and the Brooklyn Historical Society in Brooklyn Heights, expand on the Society’s oral history project “Muslims in Brooklyn,” which launched in December of 2018. The new show at the Historical Society consists of a single installation, titled “An Opening,” which pairs recordings of those oral histories with large prints that collage barely legible words and blacked-out sentences into black-and-white shapes. The images depict a feeling of uncertainty, according to the artist.

“I wanted the sounds of people thinking,” said Kameelah Janan Rasheed. “I kept coming back to this idea of tuning, of coming in and out of these stories.”

The images reflect the sounds and occasional gaps in communication found in the recordings, which visitors can hear through headphones.

“You hear laughing, snorting, chuckling, going back and trying to reframe something,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Bric exhibit “Beyond Geographies,” opening on Sept. 13, will offer a splash of color, with sculptures, video projections, and photography that bring to life the experiences of its eight Muslim artists.

In one room-sized installation, Iranian artist Morehshin Allahyari projects images of jinn, spiritual beings from Islamic mythology, on the wall behind a statue of a woman with tentacles and exaggerated features, as a way of making a feminist statement, said the show’s curator.

“She takes one jinn that she refigures as a feminist figure,” said Ferrer. “It’s a way of taking agency.”

The exhibit also includes deconstructed Persian rugs, colorful paper boats, and photos that communicate the complex identities of Muslims in America. The wide variety of art reflects contemporary style, rather than using Arabic script, patterend tiles, and veils associated with older, Middle Eastern iconography, said Ferrer.

“Brooklyn is such a center of contemporary creation, so I wanted to include artists using contemporary subject matter,” she said. “There’s no one monolithic Muslim identity.”

“An Opening” at Brooklyn Historical Society [128 Pierrepont St. at Clinton and Henry streets in Brooklyn Heights. (718) 222–4111.] Open Wed–Sun, Noon–5 p.m. $10 ($6 for seniors and teachers, students free).

“Beyond Geographies” at Bric House [647 Fulton St. at Rockland Places in Fort Greene, (718) 855–7882,]. Open through mid-November; Tue–Fri, 11 a.m.–7 p.m,; Sat and Sun, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Free.

Reach reporter Rose Adams at or by calling (718) 260–8306. Follow her on Twitter @rose_n_adams
Posted 12:00 am, September 12, 2019
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Fanny Woo from Sunset Park says:
This is so nice - in our regular lives we only see them as terrorists, or illegal immigrants, or honor killings. Now people will know that there's others.
Sept. 12, 2:37 am
Ilan Omar from Radical Somali Sisterhood says:
‘Some people did something’
Sept. 12, 5:53 am

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: