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#MIDWEEKINSPO
Back in Leeds up in the North of England after a whirlwind weekend in London. It seems like the city just keeps pulling me back. When you’ve lived in the capital for three years and made connections, it’s sometimes annoying how you can’t seem to get away. Even when you do, it feels like you miss out on so much!
Anyway, here are my reflections for the week :)
1. Darbar Festival 2014
So I was in London because I was volunteering for the prestigious Darbar Festival of Indian Classical Music. It’s the largest festival of its kind in Europe and brings big names, lesser known ones and showcases UK musicians all of a high-calibre every year. I’ve been involved for the past couple of years, but this year I got really stuck in. Taking care of artists, speaking to audience members, setting the stage and playing taanpura were many parts of the job. It was an incredible experience and getting to meet and listen to one of my favourite singers, Dr. Prabha Atre up close was unforgettable. Photos: Ravi Chandarana Photography


2. Manjari Sharma Photography - ‘Darshan’
Kajal Nisha Patel, a fantastic social documentary photographer, recently told me about the ‘Darshan’ series by Manjari Sharma. The series is so surreal and mesmerising. Manjari used intricate and detailed photographic portraits to interpret Hindu iconography that she grew up with - painstaking work with jaw-dropping results!


3. ‘Growing into Music’
I’m so glad I came across these films documenting incredible research by a team of scholars. At various points across three years, these six films followed the families and lifestyles of Indian classical musicians and dancers and their students or children. It shows how the art forms are passed on and transmitted through generations. I mean, I’d heard about these traditions but to see them in reality was huge for me. I was so inspired by the environment and ethos that these families follow. Just check out this dance studio…!


Connect with us on Facebook or Twitter and let us know your #midweekinspo ;)
- S

#MIDWEEKINSPO

Back in Leeds up in the North of England after a whirlwind weekend in London. It seems like the city just keeps pulling me back. When you’ve lived in the capital for three years and made connections, it’s sometimes annoying how you can’t seem to get away. Even when you do, it feels like you miss out on so much!

Anyway, here are my reflections for the week :)

1. Darbar Festival 2014

So I was in London because I was volunteering for the prestigious Darbar Festival of Indian Classical Music. It’s the largest festival of its kind in Europe and brings big names, lesser known ones and showcases UK musicians all of a high-calibre every year. I’ve been involved for the past couple of years, but this year I got really stuck in. Taking care of artists, speaking to audience members, setting the stage and playing taanpura were many parts of the job. It was an incredible experience and getting to meet and listen to one of my favourite singers, Dr. Prabha Atre up close was unforgettable. Photos: Ravi Chandarana Photography

2. Manjari Sharma Photography - ‘Darshan’

Kajal Nisha Patel, a fantastic social documentary photographer, recently told me about the ‘Darshan’ series by Manjari Sharma. The series is so surreal and mesmerising. Manjari used intricate and detailed photographic portraits to interpret Hindu iconography that she grew up with - painstaking work with jaw-dropping results!

3. ‘Growing into Music’

I’m so glad I came across these films documenting incredible research by a team of scholars. At various points across three years, these six films followed the families and lifestyles of Indian classical musicians and dancers and their students or children. It shows how the art forms are passed on and transmitted through generations. I mean, I’d heard about these traditions but to see them in reality was huge for me. I was so inspired by the environment and ethos that these families follow. Just check out this dance studio…!

Connect with us on Facebook or Twitter and let us know your #midweekinspo ;)

- S

#FRIDAYINSPO

Okay okay, so I missed the #midweekinpso this week! But I was on a mini break over in Andalusia having literally, one of the best holidays ever! While its nice to be back (especially when the weather’s nice and warm here in London for a change), I can’t help but feel anxious that I won’t be able to travel again for at least another year, because of my Masters :( Oh well..time for photos!

1. I finally got to see the Alhambra!  Its honestly more than what I imagined it would be. Every corner of the fortress palaces are exquisitely decorated with stunning Islamic geometry tile work and huge elaborately guilded walls.

2. Cordoba is such a gorgeous place in Andalusia! Obviously theres the beautiful Mosque-Cathedral, but getting a little guided tour on the Islamic history of the city revealed all the hidden gems. We bumped into a few statues of prominent Islamic philosophers and inventors, a preserved Andalusian home and a few other relics we would’ve otherwise missed. 

(the preserved Mihrab in the Cordoba Mosque-Cathedral)

(Remnants of Arabic verses in the arches) 

(Statue of Ibn Rushd, a great Islamic philosopher, mathematician, scientist, the list goes on…) 

3. So theres a small area in Granada called the Albayzin where we went to pray Jummah (the Friday prayer), and right next to it we stumbled across a centre of Islamic Studies. Well, of course I had to go inside and check out the library! It was home to scores and scores of Arabic books, works on Islamic history, Sufism, volumes of Tafsir. It was amazing! 

I’ll be sharing more photos over on our Facebook page and my Instagram, so keep an eye out :) 

 - A x 


Have you guys visited Andalusia?

AFGHANISTAN’S TEEN GIRLS TURN THE CAMERA ON KABUL

This eye-opening and important film recently caught my attention and is definitely worth watching. 

These are the recent and personal, real-life video diaries of three young women living in Kabul, filming their lives, encounters, places, views and ideas. 

They’re fierce and inspiring in a place that is fragile and full of tension. One moment I felt threatened just watching it as when one of the girls asked a young man in the street what he would do to his sister if she was out in the park he said that he would ‘behead her’…

Every step they take, move they make and word they say are policed by men and women who accuse them. 

What a place to live…

- S

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
Photo credit: Christopher Nunn

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

Photo credit: Christopher Nunn

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