TWO-BROWNGIRLS

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DANCING IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY - SHEEMA KERMANI

I get profoundly moved and inspired when I hear about dancers like Sheema Kermani dancing in places where they’re at risk of being persecuted and even killed for their art form. 

This insightful article by Sunil Kothari recently opened my eyes to the situation of dance in Pakistan. Fearless artists like Sheema ji are truly courageous and show us the meaning of art as activism. 

"I agree that if there is someone from Taliban in the audience, he or she may plant a bomb and blow us up. But we are prepared for such risks"

- S

RANG RANGIA - MAATIBANI FT. KOMAL RIZVI

I’ve followed ‘Maatibani’ for a long time now and absolutely love their video and music production!

Here’s a brand new duet with Nirali Karthik and Komal Rizvi on vocals and a whole host of musicians from different regions coming together on a funky, original track with a beautiful meaning :)

Check out their YouTube channel for more fantastic music and videos <3

- S

REHMAT RAYATT PHOTOGRAPHY - PROJECT CALL-OUT

Back in July we had the wonderful opportunity to meet up with incredible photographer and videographer, Rehmat Rayatt. She’s on the look-out for creative South Asian women aka. BROWN GIRLS to feature in a new project platforming personal stories. 

The work will be uploaded when a number of stories have been collected but we were thrilled to be featured :) we had such an awesome time shooting down by the canal in Bethnal Green!

Check out her work on her website and Facebook and drop her an email at hello@rehmatrayatt.com if you’re interested in being featured!

- S

 

AMBREEN SADIQ - ONE OF BRITAIN&#8217;S FIRST FEMALE MUSLIM BOXERS
I loved this recent article on boxer, Ambreen Sadiq. Not only has she fought and won numerous fights in the ring but she&#8217;s fought through the prejudice that some of her family members have about her profession. 
After appearing in the local newspapers and a Channel 4 documentary about her journey, Ambreen faced criticism and even death threats from men and women in the Muslim community. But she says that it isn&#8217;t the religion that causes the problem&#8230; 
&#8220;“A lot of Muslim people say it&#8217;s about religion,&#8221; she says. &#8220;But I think it&#8217;s more about the culture and how people have been brought up. Men and women are treated equally [in the religion]. In the culture, it&#8217;s like the women should be at home cooking tea. The men put the food on the table.&#8221;
Now Ambreen&#8217;s story has been transformed into a play that is featuring at Edinburgh Festival - &#8216;No Guts, No Heart, No Glory&#8217; check out the trailer here:

“It’s great that I can get my story out there,” says Sadiq. She wants to spread the message that Muslim girls can do whatever they want – whether dance, ballet, boxing, or football. “I think girls should be doing anything they want to be doing,” she insists.
 - S

AMBREEN SADIQ - ONE OF BRITAIN’S FIRST FEMALE MUSLIM BOXERS

I loved this recent article on boxer, Ambreen Sadiq. Not only has she fought and won numerous fights in the ring but she’s fought through the prejudice that some of her family members have about her profession. 

After appearing in the local newspapers and a Channel 4 documentary about her journey, Ambreen faced criticism and even death threats from men and women in the Muslim community. But she says that it isn’t the religion that causes the problem… 

“A lot of Muslim people say it’s about religion,” she says. “But I think it’s more about the culture and how people have been brought up. Men and women are treated equally [in the religion]. In the culture, it’s like the women should be at home cooking tea. The men put the food on the table.”

Now Ambreen’s story has been transformed into a play that is featuring at Edinburgh Festival - ‘No Guts, No Heart, No Glory’ check out the trailer here:

“It’s great that I can get my story out there,” says Sadiq. She wants to spread the message that Muslim girls can do whatever they want – whether dance, ballet, boxing, or football. “I think girls should be doing anything they want to be doing,” she insists.

- S

RUZWANA BASHIR - ‘THEY’RE NOT VICTIMS, THEY’RE SURVIVORS’

We recently received a heartfelt message about the reports about Pakistani men sexual abusing and grooming 1400 girls in Rotherham and believe it’s extremely important to raise awareness of this issue. 

Ruzwana Bashir, CEO of Peek.com in San Fransisco, was actually born in humble old Skipton, a Yorkshire town in the North of England. She recently came forward with a statement that she was sexually abused as a young girl and worked to bring the abuser to justice. 

Here is another excellent piece about the issue of abuse within Muslim communities here in Britain but actually the majority of the girls in the Rotherham case were white. 

One pattern emerges though, the perpetrators are mainly of Pakistani descent and many Asian girls feel ashamed to bring their cases forward. Now this isn’t a call to stereotype Pakistani men in anyway but we have to look at the deeply entrenched patriarchal structure that says women should be ashamed if they are abused and that perhaps men feel that it’s valid to treat women this way. 

I’m sure there are support networks out there for women to come forward and talk to and it would be great to know more about these organisations to spread the word about where girls and boys can go for anonymous support. It would be great to see prolific people like Ruzwana take more action and perhaps set up an organisation to take the issue forward and make a change about how abuse is dealt with in the community. 

We pray that the survivors have the strength to overcome their abuse and that the abusers come to justice. 

- S

Your blog is like looking inside my own mind, I love that there are other girls taking an interest in our rich culture. I felt like I was the only one, watching Jodha Akbar and dreaming of kundan pieces in the english rain. Btw you guys are gorgeous!

Asked by
thesociopathiccannibal

Ahh wow <3 thank you :)

No, no, don’t worry, you’re definitely not the only one…

SAKINA DESIGN

I was so excited when I found Sakina Design, a home decor website with a beautiful range of products inspired by Islamic art. I spent at least an hour perusing through their stock, from unique tableware to thought-provoking wall art, mentally designing my future home :) 

Art has had such a fundamental role in the growth and expression of Islam, and Sakina Design elaborately capture the beauty of Islamic art, and the practicality of having inspired pieces in your home. 

 Guided by ihsan, the Islamic concept of perfection and excellence, we select only materials of the highest quality, promote eco-friendly materials and practices, and give back to the community through donations and volunteering.

My favourite has got to be this Alhambra rug:

What a gorgeous piece for the living room.

Check out the website and follow Sakina Design on Facebook to learn a little more about Jontie & Pik (the founders) and their journey! 

- A x 

 

#MIDWEEKINSPO

Finally a week at home! Busy, busy, busy but definitely blessed so must stay grateful :)

Here are some things that have really rocked my boat this week, oh yeah!

1. Can I just say that I’m in love with what Homegrown is doing? It’s a fantastic website that features so much awesome, artistic content. Recently they’ve started a series of collaborative photography projects with brands, photographers and bloggers and the results have been outstanding. I love this feature with Arjun Kamath and Ritu Arya in Bangalore:

Stunning, right?

2. Next it’s the SINGH Project who have recently caught the attention of mainstream media with their powerful portrait series of different Singhs in the UK. I loved this BBC interview with Amit and Naroop, the creators behind the project - they seem so down to earth and passionate about what they do!

3. On the Sikh theme, I finally managed to sit down and start reading 'Her Name is Kaur'. It’s so powerful. The concept, the stories, the themes, the way it’s written by all of the women have so far been so moving! It’s like reading a story of myself too in a way. It’s so relatable and so awesome to see that there are women out there fighting the good fight and thinking in ways similar yet different to me too. I love it! Watch out for a full review when I finish it! :)

Hope you’re all having a wonderful first week of September!

- S

MANY HANDS MAKE BEAUTIFUL WORK: RITU KUMAR

Check out this bright and insightful short film on Ritu Kumar’s collection behind the scenes! I love the upbeat shots showing us the people and the skilful techniques needed to make each elaborate outfit. We often forget about them don’t we?

I hope the series (yep, its part of a four-part series!) helps to grow an appreciation amongst us for all the hands, work and talent that are behind a single outfit. 

- A x 

I don’t know much about how high-end Indian designers create their work and if there’s a lower or similar statistic than foreign labels when it comes to worker exploitation. Does anyone know where I can start to find out a little more about this? 

#MIDWEEKINSPO

The week has slowed down a little for me this time round. Now that I’ve finished my intensive course studying the fundamentals of Arabic rhetoric, my classes are less rigorous and I find that I’m not as productive as I was a week ago. Plus, this grey London weather has me dreaming about going back to India soon…

Here are a few links that brightened up my week:

1.    The world of Indian fashion has been buzzing lately! Lakme fashion week was gorgeous! I particularly fell in love all over again with Anita Dongre; her silhouettes are always so experimental and unique.

I know Manish Malhotra is so mainstream & Bollywood, but how gorgeous are the deep purple and pink hues in some of his collection this year <3

2. Hijab is something I have recently found myself wanting to understand. I’ve listened to and spoken with many women about why they wear the hijab, how it makes them feel in Western society etc, and nothing has really settled it in my own mind. This article however, on the spiritual concept of Hijab really opened up a new perspective I haven’t heard being discussed before.

The purpose then of modest and simple dress becomes so much more than an attempt to somehow control the immodest responses of men to our sexual natures, or some ritual done solely because it is implied in a Holy Book.”

3. Oh, Jaypore! The aesthetics of this brand get me every time. I love seeing their page pop up on my timeline; the team is always brewing up something new and exciting! Follow them on Facebook so you catch their latest updates :) 

- A x