Voices of Muslim Women Amplified Through KPU Art Exhibit

An installation at the KPU Surrey campus provided a platform for the women to tell their own stories

Asalah Youssef’s photos hung in the Kwantlen Surrey library as part of the Voices of Muslim Women installation. (Katherine Charlton)

Nine Muslim women recently created works of art to tell their stories and defy stereotypes as part of the Voices of Muslim Women course taking place at KPU Surrey.

“It’s basically a way for Muslim women to write their own narrative by visual media,” explains Allison Youssef, the instructor and program coordinator. “This installation shows that all Muslim women are different and can’t be painted with one brushstroke.”

The program is intended to provide a comfortable, judgement-free space in which Muslim women can express themselves.

Students were required to select a part of their life to display through photography. This prompted an array of interesting and unique responses from the students, ranging from depictions of family life by Aisha Amijee to photos based on the effects of nature by Asalah Youssef.

The installation not only exhibited diversity amongst muslim women, but also similarities that they share with all women.

“It’s basically a way for people to see the shared humanity,” explains Youssef. “It can change the way that we look back on those stories, on those moments that were perhaps difficult for us and how we can evolve through bringing that alive through art.”

For those who were inspired or intrigued by this project, applications for the fall course will be open to women of all demographics regardless of religious beliefs. More details will be announced in August. The course is entirely free to take.

Youssef adds that the course can be “very challenging, but at the same time, it is life-changing.”

Until August arrives, students can stay updated with Voices of Muslim Women through their Instagram and Facebook accounts, where updates are posted regularly. They can also look forward to the spring series created by the current students who began working on the new project on March 15.