Posts tagged with "muslim"

Netflix – Cuties

By Cassandra Yany

One of Netflix’s newest films, Cuties, has garnered much attention and backlash since its Sep. 9 release on the streaming platform. The coming-of-age film depicts a young girl as she tries to navigate her life as a pre-teen growing up in a Muslim family living in Paris.

Many critics have spoken out against the film, which currently holds the no. 7 spot in Netflix’s ‘Top 10,’ for its depiction of 11-year-old girls dancing and behaving in an indecent manner. According to the New York Times, the movie was first deemed controversial in the U.S. in August when Netflix released the promotional artwork. The original marketing for the film displayed an image of four young girls in skimpy dance costumes posing provocatively.

This, along with the trailer, prompted opposers to start petitions online and call for the removal of the film from Netflix’s catalog. Netflix apologized and changed the artwork for the film to a more innocent photo of the same four characters walking down the street with shopping bags, donning bras and underwear over their clothes.

Last week’s release of the film has sparked conversation once again amongst parents, politicians and others, causing #CancelNetflix to trend on Twitter. Lina Nealon, the Director of Corporate and Strategic Initiatives at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation has spoken out against the film saying “While we commend Director Maïmouna Doucouré for exposing the very real threats to young girls having unfettered access to social media and the internet, we cannot condone the hypersexualization and exploitation of the young actresses themselves in order to make her point.” She called for Netflix to cut the “sexually-exploitive” scenes from the film, or remove the film from the platform altogether.

On Friday, Hawaii Rep. Tulse Gabbard tweeted, “@Netflix child porn ‘Cuties’ will certainly whet the appetite of pedophiles & help fuel the child sex trafficking trade. 1 in 4 victims of trafficking are children… Netflix you are now complicit.”

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz penned a letter to Attorney General William P. Barr Friday calling for the Department of Justice to start an investigation into the production and distribution of the film to “determine whether Netflix, any of its executives, or anyone involved in the making of ‘Cuties’ violated any federal laws against the production and distribution of child pornography.”

Cruz wrote that “the film routinely fetishizes and sexualizes these pre-adolescent girls as they perform dances simulating sexual conduct in revealing clothing, including at least one scene with partial nudity” falsely claiming that there’s a scene exposing a “minor’s bare breast.” The Associated Press reported that one of Cruz’s representatives, Lauren Aronson, said that the senator has not seen the film.

According to the Washington Times, some critics are even calling on the Obama’s— who have a production deal with Netflix— to take action against the film. Deadline stated that “The reality appears to have been lost in the storm, and the truth is very few of the people reacting so strongly will have actually seen the film.”

Netflix told USA TODAY “‘Cuties’ is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children. It’s an award winning film and a powerful story about the pressure young girls face on social media and from society more generally growing up— and we’d encourage anyone who cares about these important issues to watch the movie.”

Director Maïmouna Doucouré defends the film, saying that it works to shed light on these issues so they can be fixed. Cuties first premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 23, where it won the Directing Jury Award for the dramatic film category. According to the New York Times, the movie did not stir up much conversation in France after its theatrical release (as Mignnonnes in French) in August.

Deadline reports that Doucouré did not see the promotional material prior to when it was circulated on the internet. She said that she received death threats as the outrage grew over these images. She told the news site that the film is not apologetic about the hypersexualization of children, but instead is her “…personal story as well as the story of many children who have to navigate between a liberal western culture and a conservative culture at home.”

Cuties was Doucouré’s feature directorial debut. Similar to the film’s main character, Amy, Doucouré is of Senegalese descent and grew up in a Muslim culture in Paris. In an interview at Sundance, she said she first had the idea for the movie after attending a neighborhood gathering in Paris where she saw a group of 11-year-old girls doing a stage performance of a “sensual” dance. She was shocked to see girls that age dance like that in short clothing. “We can’t continue to close our eyes about that,” she told the interviewer.

Doucouré researched for a year and a half, meeting with hundreds of pre-teens who told her their stories. She learned about their ideas of femininity, and how their self image is affected by the emphasis of social media in today’s society. According to IndieWire, the young actresses’ parents were on board with the project to spread awareness of the issue, and there was a psychologist working with the girls throughout filming who is still helping them throughout the release process.

The film is centered around Amy, an 11-year-old girl who has recently moved to a housing development in a poor suburb of Paris with her Senegalese, observant Muslim family. She looks out for her brothers, takes care of responsibilities around the house, and is in the process of being taught how to ‘be a woman’ by  her aunt.

One day after prayer, Amy walks by the laundry room and sees a girl her age dancing to music playing from her phone. In a subsequent scene, Amy is seen trying to straighten her hair with a clothing iron, burning part of it off as a result. 

Amy learns that her father, who is still in Senegal, has taken a second wife and will be coming to Paris soon to have the wedding. Her mother, Mariam, tries to hide her reaction to the news, but Amy sees her grow upset and take her frustrations out on herself. This is where Amy’s behavior begins to shift; she starts to reject her culture and identity, and instead tries to conform to fit in with the other girls at school. 

At school, Amy is teased for her clothes and lack of fashion sense, so she begins to wear her younger brother’s t-shirt to match the crop tops that her classmates wear. After seeing a group of girls her age dancing after school, Amy steals her cousin’s iPhone to learn how to dance, herself. She comes across their social media accounts and begins taking selfies, imitating what she sees on their profiles. 

Amy finds herself a spot in the girls’ friend group and dance troupe, and as a result, begins to neglect her responsibilities at home. Amy starts to show more self expression, wearing her hair natural rather than pulling it back. She also begins to explore the internet more, finding videos of almost-naked women dancing rather suggestively and moving their bodies in ways that an 11-year-old probably shouldn’t be watching. 

Taking what she found online, Amy practices dancing with her friends and teaches them how to twerk. This is where the movie begins to make viewers slightly uneasy. It was jarring to see these young, innocent girls tainted by this inappropriate content and doing dance moves that they didn’t understand the implications of. It appears that this was the intention of director Doucouré, as she stated in an interview with Netflix that the film is “…a mirror of today’s society; a mirror sometimes difficult to look into and accept but still so true.”

Some of the scenes, frankly, are very disturbing to watch. These include the girls dancing provocatively for two older male workers at a laser tag facility so that they wouldn’t get in trouble for sneaking in, as well as Amy beginning to undress for her cousin once he found she had stolen his iPhone in an attempt to smooth over the situation. Perhaps the most disturbing scene is when Amy takes a picture of her genitals to post on her social media profile so that people at school would think she’s mature. While there was no nudity shown in this scene, the implied action was horrifying to watch. 

At the end of the film, Amy performs with her dance troupe at a local competition. Dressed in revealing outfits, they dance immodestly in front of a crowd of people who quickly seem unsettled. (This is the scene from which the original promotional photos were taken.) Toward the end of the song, Amy freezes as she begins to think about her mom, then runs off the stage crying. She goes home where she asks her mom not to attend her father’s wedding. Her mom continues to get ready for the event, but tells Amy that she doesn’t have to go.

Instead of going to the wedding, Amy steps outside and begins jumping rope. This scene depicts a mixture of her two identities: she is wearing jeans and a crop top with her hair down, but is surrounded by people of her culture dressed in traditional garments. After suppressing her family’s background for a majority of the movie, Amy is finally able to find the balance where her multiple cultures intersect in order to be her honest self. 

After watching Cuties, it is evident that it is not meant to promote this behavior among young girls, but instead provide commentary on what is happening today and warn the adults who see the movie. The harsh reality is that more pre-adolescents are exposed to this type of content than we think. Any child who has access to a smart device and social platforms have the potential to see a video not meant for them. Take TikTok for example: racy dances to Cardi B and Meg Thee Stallion’s “WAP,” as well as a recent trend where women make “thirst traps” to Beyoncé’s “Rocket” are some of the most popular videos on the app right now. Young TikTok users can easily see creators on their For You Page enjoying themselves while engaging in these trends, causing the young viewer to want to do the same.

When speaking to Deadline, Doucouré said, “What happens is young girls see images of women being objectified, and the more the woman becomes an object, the more followers and like she has— they see that as a role model and try to imitate these women, but they’re not old enough to know what they’re doing.” In a separate interview, she posed the question, “Isn’t the objectification of a woman’s body that we often see in our Western culture not another kind of oppression?”

Overall, Cuties shows the dangers of uncensored media for young children and displays how impressionable they can be. It also shows the journey of Amy’s self-discovery and learning how to blend her multiple cultures in order to shape her identity. Unfortunately, the risqué nature of the film overshadows the storyline and the message is lost for a number of audience members.

In various articles, Doucouré is quoted discussing the meaning of the film in the broad context of femininity and what it means for young girls to enter womanhood in this digital age. During her aforementioned interview with Netflix, she stated “The real question of Cuties is can we, as women, truly choose who we want to be, beyond the role models that are imposed upon us by society?”

MasterClass × Queer Eye’s Tan France Teach Style

MasterClass, the streaming platform that makes it possible for anyone to learn from the best, announced today that esteemed fashion designer, television personality, and author Tan France will teach a class on style for everyone. France will teach members confidence-boosting tips and tricks to discover their own personal style.

VIEW NEW TRAILER HERE

Now available at MasterClass.com, members can subscribe for unlimited access to all new and existing 85+ classes through the All-Access Pass. MasterClass categories include business, culinary arts, film & television, music & entertainment, photography, sports and more.

“[France’s] mastery lies in his ability to transform people’s lives through personal style, self-discovery, and confidence,” said David Rogier, co-founder and CEO of MasterClass. “His MasterClass peels back the curtain on his process and offers practical tips for members to come away feeling inspired to find and develop their own style to feel like the best version of themselves.”

France started his career working for some of the world’s leading brands before launching his own successful women’s clothing company, Kingdom & State. Best known for his role as fashion expert for the Netflix series Queer Eye, he became one of the first openly gay Muslim and South Asian men on a mainstream television program. France is also the host of the digital series Dressing Funny, where he styles some of the world’s most popular comedians. In 2019, France released his memoir, Naturally Tan, which became a New York Times bestseller in Hardcover Nonfiction and a Sunday Times bestseller in the U.K. France resides in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his husband, Rob France.

“An investment in style is an investment in yourself and your happiness,” said France. “I’m excited to help members find their own confidence by looking into their closet and discovering who they want to be and how they want to feel. It’s different from anything I’ve ever done before.”

For members who are just beginning to approach style for the first time or those who feel stuck in a style rut, France’s MasterClass offers practical tips on how to find and develop their own personal style to feel like the best versions of themselves. Drawing from his experience styling on and off camera for the past 20 years, France dives into the fundamentals of style focusing on two easy-to-follow rules⁠—knowing proportions and knowing yourself. Building on the foundational tools of proportion and fit, he also explores how to create a capsule wardrobe and how to confidently mix and match color, pattern, and texture. Members will learn practical lessons on how to shop for clothes, dress for work, and navigate fashion trends as well as get a behind-the-scenes look at how France works his transformational magic on Queer Eye. Through simple, straightforward guidelines, members will leave feeling inspired to find the most stylish, confident version of themselves.

France’s MasterClass joins the 85+ classes taught by world-renowned instructors on culinary arts, photography, writing, performance, and much more. Each MasterClass has digestible video lessons sized to fit into any part of your day and cinematic visuals with close-up, hands-on demonstrations that make you feel one-on-one with the instructor. The All-Access Pass gives you access to every MasterClass and new ones as they launch. Learn on the go with mobile apps or in the comfort of your home with Apple TV®, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV and Roku® devices. Subscribe to greatness at MasterClass.com.

ABOUT MASTERCLASS:

Founded in 2015, MasterClass is the streaming platform that makes it possible for anyone to learn from the best. With MasterClass, step into Kelly Wearstler’s design studio, Ron Finley’s garden, and Neil Gaiman’s writing retreat. Improve your serve with Serena Williams, perfect your pitch with Shonda Rhimes, and leave the atmosphere with Chris Hadfield. Hundreds of classes from 85+ of today’s most brilliant minds are available anytime, anywhere, on iOS, Android, desktop, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, and Roku devices with the All-Access Pass ($180/year). Subscribe to greatness with MasterClass.

MasterClass’s current roster of courses includes:

Business, Politics & Society: Jane Goodall (conservation), Bob Woodward (investigative journalism), Karl Rove and David Axelrod (political campaign strategy), Paul Krugman (economics and society), Howard Schultz (business leadership), Anna Wintour (creativity and leadership), Sara Blakely (self-made entrepreneurship), Bob Iger (strategy and leadership), Doris Kearns Goodwin (U.S. presidential history and leadership), Chris Voss (art of negotiation), Goodby and Silverstein (advertising and creativity), RuPaul (self-expression and authenticity), Robin Roberts (effective and authentic communication)

Culinary Arts: Gordon Ramsay (cooking), Alice Waters (home cooking), Thomas Keller (cooking techniques), Wolfgang Puck (cooking), Dominique Ansel (French pastry), James Suckling (wine appreciation), Aaron Franklin (Texas BBQ), Massimo Bottura (Italian cooking), Gabriela Cámara (Mexican cooking), Lynnette Marrero and Ryan Chetiyawardana (mixology), Ron Finley (gardening)

Film & TV: Werner Herzog (filmmaking), Martin Scorsese (filmmaking), Ron Howard (directing), Spike Lee (filmmaking), Mira Nair (independent filmmaking), Jodie Foster (filmmaking), Ken Burns (documentary filmmaking), Helen Mirren (acting), Samuel L. Jackson (acting), Judd Apatow (comedy), Aaron Sorkin (screenwriting), Natalie Portman (acting), David Lynch (creativity and filmmaking)

Lifestyle: Bobbi Brown (makeup and beauty), Kelly Wearstler (interior design), Brandon McMillan (dog training), Tan France (style)

Music & Entertainment: Steve Martin (comedy), Christina Aguilera (singing), Usher (performance), Reba McEntire (country music), Herbie Hancock (jazz), Deadmau5 (music production), Armin van Buuren (dance music), Hans Zimmer (film scoring), Tom Morello (electric guitar), Carlos Santana (art and soul of guitar), Timbaland (producing and beatmaking), Penn & Teller (magic), Itzhak Perlman (violin), Danny Elfman (music for film), Sheila E. (drumming and percussion), Jake Shimabukuro (ukulele)

Writing: James Patterson (writing), Shonda Rhimes (writing for television), David Mamet (dramatic writing), Judy Blume (writing), Malcolm Gladwell (writing), R.L. Stine (writing for young audiences), Margaret Atwood (creative writing), Dan Brown (writing thrillers), Neil Gaiman (storytelling), Billy Collins (poetry), David Baldacci (writing thrillers), Joyce Carol Oates (short story writing), David Sedaris (storytelling and humor)

Design, Photography & Fashion: Frank Gehry (architecture), Diane von Furstenberg (how to build a fashion brand), Annie Leibovitz (photography), Marc Jacobs (fashion design), Jimmy Chin (adventure photography), Will Wright (game design)

Sports & Games: Serena Williams (tennis), Stephen Curry (shooting, ball-handling, and scoring), Garry Kasparov (chess), Daniel Negreanu (poker), Phil Ivey (poker strategy), Simone Biles (gymnastics), Misty Copeland (ballet), Tony Hawk (skateboarding)

Science & Technology: Chris Hadfield (space exploration), Neil deGrasse Tyson (scientific thinking and communication)

For more information, please visit www.masterclass.com.

Zakat Gives Fresh Food

Zakat Foundation of America will transport 23 tons of farm-fresh produce to New York for free distribution to low-income families, the jobless, and undocumented in all five boroughs – with volunteers from nearly 40 Islamic centers delivering grocery packages directly to the homes of those unable to reach designated food-sharing sites.

The global charity’s relief workers and volunteers from its local partners will give out 1,760 containers of farm-fresh produce – each package brimming with about 25 pounds of colorful fruit and vegetables – to families in need.

Zakat Foundation, headquartered near Chicago in Bridgeview, Illinois, will haul the much-needed fresh- food aid from Midwest farmers into the city, reeling in the wake of the Minneapolis police murder of George Floyd, followed by days of anti-police brutality, anti-racist protests, citywide curfews, and military- style crowd-dispersing tactics to thwart demonstrators. The unrest has shuttered stores, shut down municipal services, stranded countless of the most vulnerable, and separated many from access to food.

Hillside Islamic Center, at 300 Hillside Avenue, New Hyde Park, will serve as the central food-packages pick-up location for organization volunteers. They will take their produce and grocery allotments back to their home mosques and centers for distribution to their communities.

Produce crates hold fresh tomatoes, apples, oranges, cucumbers, lettuce, celery, carrots, asparagus, onions, potatoes, and other fruits and vegetables. Grocery boxes contain rice, oil, milk, pasta, sugar, noodles, and tea.

The protests have come on the heels of New York’s massive coronavirus outbreak, which struck marginalized communities and neighborhoods with appallingly high infection and death rates, hitting the poor especially hard economically with widespread job losses and little government relief.

Since the COVID-19 crisis began, Zakat Foundation has distributed at least 44,000 pounds of potatoes, hundreds of hot meals, and thousands of pounds of groceries to New York’s afflicted among African American, Latino, Bangladeshi, Indian, Arab, and other communities through 26 community organization partners.

In addition, the international humanitarian agency has distributed 3,000 masks to essential workers and 2,500 medical gloves to Stony Brook University Medical center.

EVENT DETAILS:

Location:

Hillside Islamic Center; 300 Hillside Avenue, New Hyde Park, NY 11040

Time:

10 a.m. Sunday, June 7, 2020

Muslim Charity Donates Food

In the wake of the shocking Memorial Day police-lynching of George Floyd in Minneapolis — brutal proof of American society’s entrenched sanctioning of racial persecution — Zakat Foundation of America is delivering Tuesday, June 2, a refrigerated trailer full of fresh produce and food to the beleaguered poor locked in neighborhoods shut down by state curfew, police power and fiery violence of murky origin.

“We’re sending more than 18 tons of fresh produce and milk into the Minneapolis neighborhoods near Floyd’s killing, where the personal pain and economic deprivation has hurt most and soared highest,” said Halil Demir, Zakat Foundation’s executive director. “Our partners in relief live and serve the people there: families, the elderly, the sick and so many children. As an international Muslim charity that — as a matter of faith and practice — puts the urgent life-needs of all vulnerable human beings first, no matter their color and whatever their creed, we’ve reached out to them to offer relief to those most vulnerable.”

Two key nonprofit partners — Al-Maa’uun and Building Blocks of Islam — are part of the Minneapolis Muslim Leaders Coalition, a group of local organization heads who’ve held nightly conference calls since Floyd’s murder to assess the growing needs of vulnerable communities and strategize targeted relief responses in them.

“Zakat Foundation was the first national organization to reach out to us to determine how the people of the Twin Cities can be served in this time of crisis,” said Afzal Syed Mohamed, Building Blocks of Islam’s chief coordinator. “Through this support, we’re already planning our community response to ensure those affected have access to essentials like food and safety kits.”

The person coordinating that critical assessment effort, Nabi Naser, directs social services for Building Blocks of Islam, while Imam Makram El-Amine heads up Al-Maa’uun, a community nonprofit he founded to serve the needful.

Fresh Food in a Time of Scarcity

The torching and boarding up of small grocery stores and other local retail shops that normally serve the largely low-income residents have virtually wiped out food and daily supplies’ availability.

Demir, whose international Muslim charity is headquartered near Chicago, said food access, especially to fresh produce, has quickly grown into an immediate crisis for the thousands of poor stranded in these focal-point areas of intervention and reaction — and it is spreading.

“Some of these neighborhoods, people describe as food deserts,” Demir said. “As the sandstorm from the killing and its aftermath intensifies, the dustbowl expands. Thousands of innocents are now caught up in it.”

Demir said he expects the international charity’s first refrigerated shipment to arrive June 2, with fresh-food boxes for at least 1,500 families, each one containing 25 lbs. of produce, including tomatoes, apples, oranges, cucumbers, lettuce, celery, carrots, asparagus, onions, potatoes and other fruits and vegetables. Zakat Foundation will also distribute 400 gallons of fresh milk. “We’re truly grateful that Zakat Foundation took the initiative to help us address the critical need in our community,” said Syed of Building Blocks of Islam.

An Eye on Revitalizing Now Roiling Minneapolis Communities

Demir hopes, as well, to find ways to help small businesses vital to these neighborhoods reopen when the time comes. Most are owned and run by African Americans and immigrants that, importantly, live and work in the area. Proprietors understandably remain fearful for their safety, and that of their family members, workers and stores.

These worries have risen along with widespread reports and rumors of agitators infiltrating peaceful protests to stoke confrontation for extremist causes.

In addition, the crowd-control tactics of enforcing authorities, intimidatingly deployed in phalanxes and full riot gear, have markedly escalated, including shooting rubber bullets and pepper spray, using tear gas and firing incendiaries.

Fears Loom on the COVID-19 Horizon

The police murder of Floyd presents nothing new in America, which has long struggled with increased social, judicial and law-enforcement crises of systematically impoverishing, under-educating, jailing and unaccountably killing African Americans in particular, but also Latinos and others considered outside the strongly racialized, communalized socio-political mainstream.

Yet this unrest has hit Minneapolis (and is now spreading to other major U.S. towns) at a precarious time. The city remains caught in a rising coronavirus pandemic tide. Hennepin and Ramsey counties, which hold Minneapolis and sister-city St. Paul, each project to fall short of available ICU beds in the next three weeks, according to Leavitt Partners, a health care intelligence firm.

The scary confluence of previously unanticipated protest crowds, the violent dismantling of local businesses and essential services infrastructure in these already impoverished neighborhoods, along with a state-wide reopening program now underway, makes a COVID-19 spike in the violence-stricken area seem likely in the coming weeks.

This is all the more disturbing as the Floyd killing and Minneapolis’ and other cities’) subsequent troubles have centered on African American communities generally forsaken in health care deserts and cordoned off in poor neighborhoods. These communities have already scandalously suffered the majority of rampant community coronavirus sickness and death in America. “We’re worried that these neighborhoods and their residents will not have time to recover from all the trauma they’ve suffered through these past months, and now this,” Demir said. “That’s why we’re trying to respond quickly to their multiple levels of humanitarian need, all of which come down to the most human of rights — food, health care and personal safety.

“Some may call this compassion. At Zakat Foundation, as a Muslim charity, we call it by its God-given name: Justice.”

SARAH MAPLE × “THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS”

SARAH MAPLE, “THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS” 

A Solo Exhibition Curated by Indira Cesarine

OPENING RECEPTION January 22 // 6pm-9pm 

EXHIBITION ON VIEW January 22 – February 3, 2019

THE UNTITLED SPACE 

45 Lispenard Street Unit 1W 

NYC 10013 

The Untitled Space gallery is pleased to present “Thoughts and Prayers” a solo exhibition of works by artist Sarah Maple, curated by gallery director Indira Cesarine, opening January 22, 2019, and on view through February 3, 2019. Sarah Maple is an award-winning visual artist known for her bold, brave, mischievous and occasionally controversial artworks that challenge notions of identity, religion and the status quo. Hailing from Britain, this will be the first solo exhibition of the artist in the United States. Much of Maple’s inspiration originates from being raised Muslim, with parents of mixed religious and cultural backgrounds. “Thoughts and Prayers” will feature many new works, as well as a selection of some of her most notable past works, exploring a wide variety of media including performance, painting, photography, sculpture, collage, installation, and video. Maple’s pro-feminist artwork provokes a dialogue with her sharp humor and satirical eye. She fearlessly addresses what it means to be a Muslim in the Western world. Her taboo-breaking artwork fights against censorship as she investigates themes of politics, violence, freedom, feminism, and the ironies of pop culture. She often employs self-portraiture as a vehicle for her narrative, or engages guerrilla-style performance as a means to convey her message. 

“Using her own image, and drawing on her experience as a Muslim woman, Sarah tackles society’s many taboos, elevating those previously oppressed, and giving voice to those long since silenced.”   i-D Vice 

“Maple has made a name for herself over the years for pushing the boundaries of femininity, and for publicly discussing the convergence of her dual-Muslim heritage with feminism. Rather than crumble, Maple has an impressive resolve in the face of cyber adversity: she tries to laugh instead of cry… Maple hopes to examine where freedom of speech ends and abuse begins.” – Dazed Digital

“Maple could well be the only artist to take on the Kardashians (with her ‘Keeping Up With The Kapulets’ show), stereotypes around Islam (with her ‘I Love Orgasms’ acrylic), and the taboos around menstruation (with her ‘Menstruate With Pride’ triptych). She has received a flurry of glowing reviews – and even more death threats.” – Good Trouble 

“I think we need to be challenged, we need to hear challenging, radical, provocative things, even if we don’t agree with them, as it’s those things that make us react and make us want to bring about change…” Sarah Maple for TEDx

Sarah Maple graduated with BA in Fine Art from Kingston University London in 2007 and in the same year won The Saatchi Gallery’s “4 New Sensations” award for emerging artists. Maple’s artwork, film, and performances have been exhibited internationally at galleries and institutions including Tate Britain, The Barbican, AIR Gallery, and The New Art Exchange, among many others. Maple’s work has been the subject of documentaries including for ARTE and VPRO. In 2015 she released her first book “You Could Have Done This,” a hardback of selected works. The same year she was awarded a Sky Academy Arts scholarship from Sky Arts, which included funding, mentoring and a Sky Arts documentary. In 2017 she gave a TEDx talk in Birmingham, UK on the importance of free speech, titled “The Freedom To Be Challenged.” 

Her work has been featured in numerous international publications, including Vogue, The Guardian, i-D Magazine, The Sunday Times UK, The Independent, People Magazine, Dazed, and the Huffington Post among many others. In 2018 she was invited to make a limited edition cover for Harper’s Bazaar’s art issue alongside artists including Yayoi Kusama, Barbara Kruger, and Linder Sterling. Her artwork is in collections including Soho House, The Hyman Collection and the Ned. Sarah lives and works in Sussex, England. 

ARTIST STATEMENT

“My work is largely motivated by my upbringing as well as my interest in activism and gender politics. Citing current affairs I create works that provoke the viewer through satirical, tongue-in-cheek commentary. My mother is a Muslim from Kenya, who married my British father in the 1970s. She raised me as a Muslim in the UK and sent my siblings and I to a Catholic school. Much of my work examines the duality of my multicultural upbringing and the conflict of identity among young Muslims living in the western world. I began to explore these themes after reflecting on Muslim identity in Britain post 9/11and7/7 and the impact of the Iraq war. Motivated by the current political climate and being from an immigrant background, these subjects are close to my heart as I question notions of identity, belonging, and “otherness” in my works.  

I see many parallels between the UK and the US, especially with Brexit and the Trump election. The gun debate is something especially intriguing to the British. The threat of terror is continually focused on and yet nothing is done about gun laws. When officials offer up “Thoughts And Prayers,” it appears hollow and insincere. I am interested in how a lack of action directly and/or indirectly inflicts suffering and potential violence on its citizens. 

Also inspired by feminism and gender politics, my work aims to challenge deep-seated ideas about what it means to be a woman. I am interested in the role shame plays in women’s lives – how we take up space in the world, our physical appearance, bodily functions and “blame culture.” I explore the ways we can change the visual narrative for women as a form of empowerment. The medium I choose is determined by the strongest way to deliver my message; hence it is constantly evolving across a wide variety of media. Self-portraiture, for example, offers the possibility of taking ownership of our image. When we photograph ourselves, we have complete control over how we want our selves, our gender, our femininity, and our sexuality to be perceived by others. Humor is also an important element in my work. I often use a “Trojan horse” to get my message across and sometimes I just like to point out the obvious as this can be the most direct way to highlight how ridiculous something is. I used to accept a lot at face value but when I discovered feminism it motivated me not only to question the role of women, but also the preconceived ideas relating to all things in society.” – Artist Sarah Maple 

ABOUT THE UNTITLED SPACE:

The Untitled Space is an art gallery located in Tribeca, New York in a landmark building on Lispenard Street. Founded in 2014 by Indira Cesarine, the gallery features an ongoing curation of exhibits of emerging and established contemporary artists exploring conceptual framework and boundary pushing ideology through mediums of painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, video and performance art. The gallery is committing to exploring new ideas vis-à-vis traditional and new mediums and highlights a program of “Women in Art” as well as special events aligned with our creative vision. 

Exhibition Contacts:

The Untitled Space info@untitled-space.com 

Website link: http://untitled-space.com/sarah-maple-thoughts-and-prayers/

The Untitled Space

Muslim Advocates Responds to Facebook’s Latest Effort to Cover Up its Campaign to Discredit Civil Rights Groups

The following is a statement from Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, in response to the release of a 3-page document from Facebook that provides a peak into its campaign to tie valid concerns about the bigotry on Facebook’s platforms to an anti-Semitic effort to vilify Jewish philanthropist George Soros. Muslim Advocates has long been engaged in coalition efforts to root out bigotry on Facebook:

Since Facebook’s smear campaign against civil society groups was unearthed two weeks ago, Muslim Advocates has requested that Facebook disclose all of the research done in the name of discrediting Soros and other organizations seeking to hold Facebook accountable for the bigotry that has flourished on its platforms.

But the company has only responded with silence, and we haven’t seen any documents – until today and only because a media outlet received a leaked document. In anticipation of Buzzfeed publishing an excerpt of the memo that provides a peak into Facebook’s efforts to tie valid criticism into a long-running anti-Semitic campaign, Facebook released that one 3-page document.

Facebook has fallen woefully short of the bare minimum expectations of a company that claims to create welcoming and safe communities online. Facebook still hasn’t  come clean with all of its opposition research, which is what a company that’s seeking to build trust with its users and the public would do, and its top executives mislead and obfuscate, at best.

Facebook continues to change its story regarding the fact that its top executives directed and were clearly aware of what was happening. Instead, they hid more, and they proved to us that they are simply incapable of being responsible stewards of the company and the community of users that they’ve built.

Facebook has sowed division and profited from stoking rage, divisiveness, and bigotry. This is the mess they have created, and they have proven to be entirely incapable of taking responsibility for their actions  and cleaning it up. We stand with MoveOn, Color of Change, and our allies demanding that Facebook do more.

Significant changes need to be made in order to fix Facebook.  Releasing all the opposition research developed to target civil society groups and leaders is just the start. It has now become even more clear that fundamental leadership change to allow for accountability in the operations of the company is absolutely necessary: Mark Zuckerberg should step down as Chairman, Sheryl Sandberg should be removed from the Board of Directors, and three independent members should be added to the Board, including at least one individual who is a privacy and civil liberties expert. Facebook: change your ways, change your leadership, and let the country heal.

Muslim Advocates is a national legal advocacy and educational organization that works on the frontlines of civil rights to guarantee freedom and justice for Americans of all faiths.

ART BASEL × JEWISH MUSEUM

A WINNING TRIFECTA

FOR ART BASEL SEASON AT

THE JEWISH MUSEUM OF FLORIDA-FIU

Alexander Calder, Environment and Evolution, 1973

The Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU delivers a winning trifecta with three original exhibitions for Art Basel season: a show especially curated for art lovers who are yearning to see works by some of the world’s most acclaimed modern masters, the fashion world’s electrifying new star, and a heartwarming remembrance of a beloved painter that brings to life South Florida’s artistic history.

Marc Chagall … Lee Krasner … Roy Lichtenstein … Alexander Calder … and Peter Max! The Art of the Lithograph (on view through March 3), features world- renowned modern masters. Daniel Chimowitz: Walking Canvases (through February 3), is the first- ever museum show by the fashion designer/graffiti artist. Edna Glaubman: Retrospective (through December), is a tribute to the late artist, one of Florida’s most revered painters.

The works in The Art of the Lithograph are on loan from some of America’s leading private and public collections, including: The Metropolitan Art Museum and The New York Historical Society, the Collection of Lori Gold and Alan Hall of Miami Beach, and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

Marc Chagall, The Promenade, 1918, Loan of Lori Gold and Allan Hall of Miami Beach

Thirty gorgeous prints explore the history of the lithography process, taking the visitor from lithography stones to off-set and computer-to-plate printing. The Art of the Lithograph features printmaking works by Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Jim Dine, Don Eddy, R.B. Kitaj, Lee Krasner, Roy Lichtenstein, Peter Max and Camille Pissarro, among others.

These striking works will be exhibited alongside actual litho stones, and materials that showcase the step-by-step process of lithography making.

Roy Lichtenstein, Mermaid, 1978

Daniel Chimowitz Headlines This Triple-Threat

Headlining Art Basel Season at the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU is Daniel Chimowitz: Walking Canvases (through February 3). This world premiere marks the first-ever museum show by the celebrated fashion designer and international graffiti artist. Known for creating walking canvases of painted images on hand-sewn and upcycled clothing, Chimowitz combines art with the energy of street art and fashion.

For this new exhibition, Chimowitz has created all new works, never before seen, along with site-specific murals and installations. The artist will make a special appearance to greet the public at the museum on December 9 at 10:00 a.m. for the museum’s annual Sunday brunch during the week of Art Basel Miami Beach. “I design to empower men and women to be warriors in their own right,” said Daniel Chimowitz. “All fashion is about confidence. The more confident you are, the more willing you are to stand out and be original,” adds Chimowitz.

Daniel Chimowitz

Daniel Chimowitz, Installation at Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU

Walking Canvases features seven murals by Chimowitz, 32 new fashion ensembles, two paintings by Chimowitz, two murals by Miami graffiti artist Freddy Aquino, and a selfie-booth by Miami artist Evo Love.

In Chimowitz’s textiles, colors are combined with the punk DIY fashion of London, studs from Spain, and the influences of his two mothers: one mother had Polish/Jewish heritage, and his other mom was Tlinglit (indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest).

There are even outfits that look different in photos when photographed using a flash: made from reflective material inspired by emergency first-responders. His fashions have been shown on the runways in Paris, London, Beijing, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami, and he has worked with designer Patricia Field.

Installation image, fashion creations by Daniel Chimowitz at the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU

Installation image, fashion creations by Daniel Chimowitz at the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU

As a graffiti artist since he was a teenager, the “street style” is clearly evident in his work. Chimowitz was born in London in 1976 and raised in San Francisco by his two mothers, Sylvia and Rachel.

He grew up among the LGBT community, a child of San Francisco’s Castro District where he learned to be who you truly are, and not to be afraid to express oneself. Chimowitz recently returned from Poland where he spent time researching the history of his last name, from the Jewish half of his heritage. The artist learned that what was originally Chaimowitz has become Chimowitz over time, and he feels very connected to his Jewish roots and is proud to have his first-ever exhibition at a Jewish museum.

Also on view during Art Basel Season is the new exhibition Edna Glaubman: Retrospective (through December).

Edna Glaubman, Last Sunset, Florida, 1986, Estate of Rod Glaubman

This new museum retrospective includes 29 works by the late artist (1919-1986), including many works never shown before to the public. She was revered and beloved in Florida as one of the community’s favorite artists for portraits and landscapes.

Her subjects varied widely and included intimate family moments and social gatherings that are now part of the fabric of Jewish history in South Florida’s culture.

“The timeless quality of Edna Glaubman’s art, and her ideas and creative awakenings are as fresh and exciting today as they were when she created them,” said Susan Gladstone, the Executive Director of the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU.

“Our three exhibitions this year for Art Basel season are all original, new shows created by the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU,” adds Susan Gladstone.

“They represent the past, present and future of our Jewish Museum. These are works of art that all of our audiences are yearning for and thrilled to see, including the thousands of visitors from all over the world who are in town for Art Basel and our locals from Miami Beach and South Florida.”

Edna Glaubman, Rod and Joe, Blue Springs, circa 1970 Estate of Rod Glaubman

SPECIAL APPEARANCE BY DANIEL CHIMOWITZ: Sunday, Dec. 9 at 10:00 a.m.

On Sunday, December 9 the museum reprises its popular Annual Art Basel, Lox & Cream Cheese Brunch from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. for Art Basel week. This year, Daniel Chimowitz will be featured as guest-speaker and will present an exclusive fashion show. RSVP required in advance for December 9: RSVP here at this link ($25 for non-members / $18 for museum members, free for Art Basel VIP Cardholders).

The event will also feature a live performance by the internationally acclaimed Jazz pianist Tal Cohen. His unique piano style owes its roots to the Jewish folk songs and classical music he played in his formative years growing up in Gedera, Israel. Cohen was the winner of the Freedman Fellowship Award and won the Barry Harris Piano Competition in the United States. His recent album ‘Gentle Giants’ has received overwhelming attention including a 4 star review from the acclaimed Downbeat Jazz Magazine. Cohen has become a regular performer with iconic jazz figures and continues to tour the world performing his unique brand of improvised music.

6 Facts about Haji Ali Dargah You Didn’t Know

Haji Ali Dargah covers about 500 yards of the Arabian Sea. Mumbai city is well versed with this place and the royal structure holds immense importance in the lives of each individual. If you belong to a city of temples like Mangalore, you’d surely want to visit this famous dargah in Mumbai.

Here are some interesting facts and the history surrounding this admirable place.

  • It is named after the wealthy saint Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, the greatest Muslim Saint. To make a pilgrimage to Mecca, he gave all of his fortune and possessions for noble deeds. During his journey to Mecca, he died, and the body in the coffin came back floating to Mumbai. The shrine was built at the same spot. In the year 1431, the mosque was built in his loving memory. The Dargah is about than 587 years old. Due to the impact of visitors and the saline winds, the structure is constantly eroding. Renovations were carried out in the years 1960 and 1964. After which, the upgrade was again started in the year 2008.
  • The tomb is based on the Indo Islamic architecture. It is situated 5oo metres from the coast and is built on a tiny islet. It is located in the vicinity of Worli, at the centre of the Worli Bay.
  • Almost 8000 visitors come to pay respects every day, and the most interesting fact is that not everyone who comes here is a Muslim. The causeway to the Dargah is not bound by any kind of railings. So the access to the spot majorly depends on the tides. During high tides, the causeway gets completely submerged in water making it inaccessible from the city.
  • On 26th July 1949, a storm hit the Mumbai city causing a great amount of destruction, but Haji Ali Dargah stood unharmed. Every building of the city suffered harm and loads of damage. Waves kept crashing the shore, and the people inside the dargah were scared that they would drown. But with the blessings of the saint, the waves bowed the walls without harming a single person in the dargah, and people returned back to their homes without any damage.
  • There is a story called the Pothole Story, which revolves around a miracle which happens every year. During the monsoon time, the city is all covered with potholes and rough roads. But the path of the mosque has never seen any damage for people to reach and pay tribute.
  • A feminist movement called ‘Haji Ali for all’ was launched by Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan and Bhumata Brigade. The movement aimed to secure equal rights to pray. With the persistent efforts of the people, Supreme Court on 26th August ruled that women could enter the sanctum sanctorum.
  • There is lesser known tale surrounding the almighty’s dargah. Once the saint saw a poor woman holding a vessel and crying. She was crying because she had accidentally spilt the oil and was scared that the husband would beat her. To this, Haji Ali asked her to take him to that spot where she had spilt the oil. Upon reaching there, the oil came oozing out from the soil as soon as he jabbed a finger into the soil. The woman was overjoyed and filled her vessel. Later, Haji Ali Shah had a disturbing dream that he injured the Mother Earth. Soon after this, he got ill and asked his followers to put the coffin into the Arabian Sea. Miraculously, his casket just got stuck offshore of Worli where the Dargah was constructed. Haji Ali Dargah is one of the most visited mosques in Mumbai, and the history attached to the place is significant. So it’s your chance to see for real the purity of the place.