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Contemporary Art Programs /

Challenging Identities: Muslim Artists and Visual Narratives

Join three artists whose works challenge and defy conceptions about Muslim-American experiences and identities in this discussion inspired by exhibitions at Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS) and BRIC.


THU, SEP 26, 2019 | 6:30-8PM 


$5 General Admission / Free for BHS and BRIC Members


Brooklyn Historical Society
128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
United States
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Asif Mian, A Disappearing Garden of, 2019

Thursday, September 26 at Brooklyn Historical Society (128 Pierrepont St)

Doors: 6:00 pm | Event: 6:30 pm

$5 General Admission / Free for BHS and BRIC Members


Join three artists whose works challenge and defy conceptions about Muslim-American experiences and identities in this discussion inspired by exhibitions at Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS) and BRICKameelah Janan Rasheed’s An Opening, on view at BHS, situates Muslim identities in an opaque landscape of text excerpts and unfinished audio exerpts. Asif Mian and Baseera Khan share their mixed-media sculpture and installations that unpack narratives and layer cultural identity with pop culture in Beyond Geographies: Contemporary Art and Muslim Experience, on view at BRIC. These artists discuss how their works share slivers of a diverse range of identities in Muslim-American communities in a conversation moderated by curator and essayist Sara Raza.

Presented in connection with BHS’s Muslims in Brooklyn project and the exhibitions An Opening at BHS and Beyond Geographies: Contemporary Art and Muslim Experience at BRIC.

For questions about this event or other inquiries, contact BHS' Visitor Services desk at 718-222-4111, ext. 250.


Beyond Geographies: Contemporary Art and Muslim Experience presents the work of eight New York-based artists who employ a range of visual strategies to manifest multiple dimensions of the contemporary Muslim experience. Of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African-American descent, these artists grapple with complex, hybrid identities. While drawing upon such areas of inquiry as mythology, spiritual philosophy and ritual, science, and social and political history, these artists are largely unburdened by the themes and forms that have come to symbolize recent art concerned with Muslim culture - the veil, calligraphy, or the events of 9/11, for example. Rather, they draw broadly on their identities as members of disparate diasporic communities, as immigrants, and as participants in the contemporary art discourse, to navigate and express identities that are fluid, layered, and engaged in a rigorous questioning of both tradition and contemporaneity. In their explorations of the specificities of cultures and communities they claim as their own, these artists bring new frames of reference toward a broader and more nuanced understanding of a world whose boundaries are increasingly porous.

The exhibition features installations, photography, sculpture, video, performance, painting, and drawing by Morehshin AllahyariLaylah Amatullah BarraynMona Saeed KamalBaseera KhanAsif MianUmber MajeedNsenga Knight, and Nooshin Rostami; and is presented in conjunction with Kameelah Janan Rasheed’s exhibition, An Opening, at Brooklyn Historical Society.

Beyond Geographies is a component of Muslims in Brooklyn, a major public art and history project of Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS). Through this exhibition, public programs, oral histories, educational curriculum, and other initiatives, Muslims in Brooklyn aims to preserve and amplify the histories and experiences of Muslims in our borough.

The exhibition is curated by Elizabeth Ferrer, Chief Curator at BRIC. It will be accompanied by a catalogue with two essays: Sara Raza, a New York based independent curator and former Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator, Middle East and North Africa will discuss the art and artists in Beyond Geographies. Zaheer Ali, Oral Historian at BHS and Director of the Muslims in Brooklyn project, will provide an overview of the histories of Muslim communities in Brooklyn. Public programs will include gallery talks and artist performances at BRIC House, and a panel discussion moderated by Sara Raza with several exhibiting artists at the Brooklyn Historical Society.


Venue Information:

Founded in 1863, Brooklyn Historical Society is a nationally recognized urban history center dedicated to preserving and encouraging the study of Brooklyn's extraordinary 400-year history. Located in Brooklyn Heights and housed in a magnificent landmark building designed by George Post and opened in 1881, today's Brooklyn Historical Society is a cultural hub for civic dialogue, thoughtful engagement and community outreach. In May 2017, BHS opened a second site in DUMBO’s Brooklyn Bridge Park. For additional information, visit

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