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ISNA: Shop Till You Drop

September 14, 2007
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When I went to register for ISNA, I had called my mother to see if she wanted me to register her as well – which she did.  Saturday morning we dropped off her ticket and when I handed her the program booklet she said, “No thanks, I really don’t need it.”  I thought that was a bit odd.  She didn’t make it out to ISNA on Saturday and promised she would be out Sunday right after my aunt’s lamb roast – about 3 o’clock or so.  Well – she didn’t make it out on Sunday either and I was so upset that she missed the whole thing – she informed me: “That’s okay – the shopping will be better Monday morning when they are getting ready to go home – they put everything on sale and you can negotiate better.”  I paid $95.00 for my mom to go shopping!!! Come to think of it I don’t know if she even bought anything.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right?  I myself spent every spare minute at the bazaar.  I figured I’d be able to find some clothes for my oldest who seems to be set on wearing abayas non-stop.  If you said right to my earlier question .. you were wrong.  My oldest daughter seems to have fallen a few blocks away from the tree.  Earlier this spring I had taken her shopping at a Muslim store that sells abayas, jilbabs, and Muslim friendly clothing and these are the words of the saleswoman: “I never saw anything like this…. mother begging her daughter to buy her clothes… I see you buy her anything but she don’t want.  I really never saw anything like this.  Other daughters begging and fighting with mothers but this!”  Well – I still bought my daughter a ton of scarves and forced her to buy clothes she didn’t want that day.

The bazar was a different story though .. yes, even my oldest having some fun – when I wasn’t on her case about what was wrong with pink – or why she couldn’t get something other than black.  It was actually strange to see her fight with me over this bracelet about which one of us should be able to have it as neither of us wanted to share it nor did we want to buy two bracelets.  Neither of us got it although in hind sight I should have bought it for her.  It’s nice to see her be all girly .. doesn’t usually happen. 

We bought them hijab swimsuits and hijab sweatsuits and even some t-shirts.

The jewelery was mostly too gaughty except for the one bracelet.  There were way too many look-like wood carvings with surahs, Muhammed or Allah on them.  The only toys that we ran accross were cheaply made and overpriced and that was something that we just couldn’t explain to little A who cried and cried for anything from that vendor.  There were international properties for sale at booths.  Of course by now everyone has heard that the government had booths for recruiting.

There were books galore and this is where we actually did pick up somthing for little A that was reasonably priced and educational.  She got foam connecting matts with the Arabic letters that pop out and get placed back in.  Even though she knows the Arabic alphabet it will still be useful.

I picked up 3 t-shirts from Hijabman.  Mine says “This is what a radical Muslim feminist looks like”  for my two older daughters: “Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Muslim (and beautiful)” and “My Name Causes National Security Alerts, What Does Yours Do?”  The T-Shirts are awesome and we get some funny looks when we wear them but no questions – a few laughs at the feminist one and one “that’s awesome”.   I actually hadn’t picked up the t-shirts until Sunday evening because it was so hard to even approach his booth – he was selling so many t-shirts!

My favorite part though was the art.  I was going to post separate posts for the artists and maybe I will in the future but this series is getting rather long so here are a few of the artists I had run accross ….

The above artwork is Uzma Mirza’s art submissioin for the 9th International Art Exhibit at the Woman Made Gallery. 

about: This is a Spiritual Art by Uzma Aliph Mirza. Her approach to Art centers around understanding the heart (Qalb), which mirrors a higher realm of her Divine Architect through the act of remembrance called Dhikr (zthi-ker). Her struggle is to know the heart, from the Self (Nafs) which lives for the world. Remembrance or Dhikr is done through the science of knowing ones heart, which is also called Tasawwuf (Tus-aw-woof), which can lead to knowing true freedom, peace and justice, in order to create a balanced or sustainable world for all.  It is not a state, but a strife towards living and action.  It’s striving as a verb, while being a noun, eking out a way of living as a phototropic being creating sentences of beautiful communication with oneself and others.

Subsequently, the approach in using the science of knowing the heart, through her spiritual art, unique to the artist, is a reflection of the inner heart striving to create a balanced inner world of the heart, with her intellect, so as to reverberate a balanced outer world with and in check with the Self and the body. 

This Spiritual Art encourages and celebrates not the making of a Renaissance Man or Promethean Man, but the stitching of a Sustainable Human (Insan).

Her work is absolutely beautiful and breathtaking.  To watch her enthusiastically talk about her project called “The Pen And The Inkpot” was a joy and knowing that a precentage of the proceeds from her work go to charities makes it even harder to have left ISNA without one of her works in hand.  Take the time to visit her site and look at her amazing works in the gallery

Rabea Chaudhry was another artist and I wish that I could actually post a picture of one of her works here but unfortunately the artist’s website doesn’t allow me to save the thumbnails – so you must – you ablsolutely must go visit her gallery and see her work.  My daughter actually did get one more thing and it was a giclee – numbered and signed – first in the series of Knowledge in China.  We also left the convention with another giclee of Artifact – also signed and numbered.

More about the artist (from her site):

All but one of my paintings use an inverted stamping technique.  With the inverted stamping technique, the foreground, or the “stamp”, is the most immediate layer of the painting.  Traditionally, the foreground serves as the focal point of a painting.  In my work, however, the focal point of each piece (the Arabic script) is found only by looking through the foreground and into the background.  This visual search beyond the foreground symbolizes an individual’s inward struggle against the self-serving impulses that motivate desires and vendettas.  The interaction of the foreground and the background in delineating the Arabic represents an individual overcoming the temptation to serve the self in order to fulfill someone else’s needs.  Each painting is a reminder that in order to work towards a more beautiful world, we must move beyond the inclination to feed our own desires.  

What motivates me as an artist is the belief that religious and cultural harmony is established by recognition of each other’s humanity.  Every human being laughs in the same language, cries in the same language, and fears in the same language – emotions are universal realities that transcend physical borders.  The tragedies of our time are a consequence of the belief that difference is a valid reason to fear, to hate, and to hurt.  My artwork seeks to counter this self-interested dogmatism by depicting the beauty, and the necessity, of giving to another what we want for ourselves.  The world is circular, and we will inevitably reap what we sow.  In the end, we only serve ourselves by serving each other.

Inshallah, I’ll be buying more of her work and hopefully some of Uzma Mirza’s work as well. 

7 Comments leave one →
  1. September 17, 2007 1:52 pm

    A belated Ramadan Mubarak to you and your family, dear Sister🙂

    Ya Haqq!

  2. September 22, 2007 12:24 pm

    Islamic art is getting more and more popular day by day Mashallah

  3. October 15, 2007 9:04 pm

    how many people do you reckon will have attended ISNA?

  4. April 18, 2008 7:00 pm

    Salaam dear Samaha,

    Thanks for the great links to the artists!

    Warmly,
    Baraka

  5. Ayse permalink
    June 19, 2010 12:30 pm

    My favorite part of ISNA is the bazaar shooping i especially love the stylish and trendy hijabs Izdihar Boutique carries I hope shes there again this year i will definetly be looking out for her.

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  1. International Muslim Artist Exhibit « Samaha
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