Artist of the People, Najjar Abdul-Musawwir will be traveling abroad to the world’s two largest continents from July 7th thru August 8th for a month long cultural exchange and artistic dialogue on the influence Islam has had on the African and African-American artistic process. Najjar believes these experiences will lead to the creation of a thematic body of work which will reflect an international experience.
Najjar will begin his sojourn in Morocco, North Africa where he will spend three days doing fieldwork. Here, Najjar will don the hat of archaeologist as he traverses the country looking for artifacts and at architectural structures that speak to the Moroccans Islamic faith and how this informs their artistic expression.
In Senegal, in addition to his field observations of artifacts and architecture, Najjar will lecture at the esteemed Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar. He will explicitly discuss the “Influence of Islam in African-American Art.” This dialogue will delve into the creative impact Islam has had on the works of Muslim and non-Muslim African-Americans.
Malaysia will conclude Najjar’s peregrinations. His Malaysian stay will include a three-week residency as a guest scholar and artist in residence at the Muzium and Galeri Tuanku Fauziah (MGTH) Universiti Sains Malaysia, where he will lecture on the “African-American Muslim Artist: Content and Survival.” During this residency, Najjar plans to look at the connection between art and science in Malaysia; how Islam and outside cultures have influenced indigenous Malaysian art.
Najjar will also debut a new body of work “Muhammad Speaks: Preserving an American Voice” this exhibition will reflect images from the 1969-1975 publications of Muhammad Speaks, founded by the late Nation of Islam leader Al Hajj Malik El Shabazz, better known as Malcolm X. These pieces were created to preserve a certain historical aspect of the African-American Islamic cultural experience in America. It is the artists hope that this exhibition will be embraced by museums and universities in other countries throughout the globe.
Najjar looks forward to his travels and if time and opportunity permits an additional appearance at the National Gallery of Art in Malaysia.
Contact: Lavon N. Pettis
Creative Assistant to Najjar
Each generation must out of relative obscurity discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it.–Franz Fanon