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Thank You for Making the We the People Project Such a Success!

22 Jun

We the People 2011: The Lives, Art, and Cultures of Muslim and Arab Women was a powerful program, and one that was most needed and timely! Thank you to all who attended the cultural festival and performance, spent time meeting out artists, listen to their stories and learned from their experiences.

The day was filled with great learning about Muslim women’s experiences in the United States. The audience listen to stories that revealed struggle for identity, and experienced art that represented social justice, cultural metaphors, and freedom of religion.

Many thanks to our friends in media, Topher Forhecz, the Gazette, Karen Kullgren,Takoma Park Patch, Ali S. Ahmed, Alhurra Television and many others who featured our artists and participants, and gave prime time to the topic of understanding our Muslim-American community.  Many thanks also to all of our wonderful artists and volunteers who made this event possible!

As Rohina said in a dialogue with the audience after her show Unveiled, “the most deadly of all weapons of mass destruction is ignorance and fear.”

Let us not live in fear and ignorance any longer, and get to know our neighbors. We have so many stories to tell one another. We have so much to learn from each other.

Let us embrace our diversity, as one of the most powerful assets we have as a society. This is what made us succeed in the first place, and it will help us thrive in the long run.

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We the People Project Blog

14 Jun

Originally Posted on June 1st, 2011

"Abaya Driving"

For the most up-to-date information about We the People Project on June 11th visit EWI’s We the People Project Blog.  Here you’ll find interviews with the artists and performers, details about the film and panel discussions, and other exciting event information.

About We the People Project 2011

We the People Project 2011: The Lives, Art, and Cultures of Muslim and Arab Women – June 11, 11 am to 7:30 pm 
Takoma Park Community Center
7500 Maple Ave., Takoma Park, MD 20912

Free of Charge, RSVP Required


Are you eager for peace in our world? Would you like people of different religions, race, color and creed understand each other better, so that in time we can eradicate fear and terrorism and bring peace and understanding to our global community? If so, avail of a wonderful opportunity to meet talented Muslim and Arab women artists, writers, activists and community leaders at Empowered Women International’s third annual We the People Project on June 11th at the Galleries of Takoma Park Community Center.


Join us for a full day cultural event celebrating the rich artistic and cultural heritage of Muslim and Arab community in the DC Metro area.

Muslim Artists Studios – 11am to 5pm 
Free of Charge and Open to the Public!
Artists: Amal Derder, Huda Totonji, MFA, PhD, Jameela Alter, Kamar Derder, and Nadia Janjua.

Jewelry and Entrepreneurship Workshop 2010

  • Explore Islamic Ornamentation and Arabic calligraphy with Huda Totonji, MFA, PhD.
  • Visit a traditional Moroccan room, and the amazing work of two Moroccan sisters, Amal Derder, a jewelry designer and Kamar Derder a textile artist and decorator.
  • Experience contemporary painting in the Muslim world, and spiritual expression of Islamic architecture with an American-born Painter and Architect of Kashmiri-Pakistani origin, Nadia Janjua.
  • Meet Muslim novelist, Jameela Alter and discuss her book, “On Clipped Wings.” Jameela will also showcase her passion for hand-making simple, inspirational books and cards.

Film Festival presented by 20,000 Dialogues – 11am to 2:30pm
Free of Charge and Open to the Public!

-11:00 am-noon – On a Wing and a Prayer, a heartwarming story about a devout Muslim American family in rural America.  See the film here.


-Noon-12:30pm – Panel Discussion with contributors from the book “I Speak for Myself”


-1-2:30 pm – Screening of My Fellow American followed by a panel discussion with contributors from the book, “ I Speak for Myself”


Exhibiting Artists Talk and Book Presentation – 3:30pm to 5:00pm

Exhibiting Artists: Farah Diba Ahmed, Haleema Rehman, Helen Zughaib, Huda Totonji, MFA, PhD, Jamiah Adams, Monica Jahan Bose, Nadia Janjua, Sarah Jawaid.

-Talk by Exhibit Curator and Participating Artists

-Author, Jameela Alter will share her personal life story that inspired the novel “On Clipped Wings”

A light fare reception will follow in the lobby 5-5:45pm

“Unveiled” One Woman Show with Pakistani-born artist, Rohina Malik – 6:00-7:30pm

Tickets: $15 per person by June 1st

$20 per person June 2-11

RSVP and Buy Your Ticket Now!

“Rohina Malik is a remarkable new theatrical voice in Chicago”

-Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

Rohina Malik in “Unveiled”on June 11

14 Jun

Originally Posted on May 25th, 2011

“Unveiled”: Five Muslim women in a post-9/11 world serve tea and uncover what lies beneath the veil in this compelling one-woman show

Rohina Malik will be performing “Unveiled”, a  one Woman Show  from 6:00-7:30pm Performance at the We The People Project on June 11th.

RSVP and Buy Your Ticket

Commentary by Playwright and Actress Rohina Malik:

“Writing plays is a mysterious experience for me, it’s messy.  The seed for my plays usually comes from a word, a sentence that someone causally says.  I listen carefully to the side remarks, the stuff people say that they think is insignificant, that’s where I start to dig for treasure.  The first draft is just the surface of the play, I have to dig.  I can write a hundred pages before I discover the gold, and say, ‘That’s it, I’ve just found scene one.’

It’s also very mystical.  Information is revealed to me about the play.  I remember brushing my teeth and the word ‘Annulment’ came into my head.  I ran to my computer, and started to re-write Yasmina’s Necklace. That one word changed the entire script.  I write plays because it’s my way of solving problems.  Art, in its many forms, has the power to solve world problems.  That’s why I believe we should do everything we can to nurture and protect it.”

Rohina Malik is a Chicago-based playwright, actress and solo artist. She was born and raised in London, England, and draws upon her South Asian heritage to inspire her art.


Rohina’s highly acclaimed one-woman-play, Unveiled, had its world premiere at the 16th Street Theater, directed by Ann Filmer, where Rohina performed to sold-out houses. Unveiled will return to Chicago in March 2010 at the Victory Gardens Theater in partnership with 16th Street Theater.


She has worked with Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Live Bait Theater and Teatro Vista.  Her new play, Yasmina’s Necklace, will receive a staged reading at The Goodman Theater’s New Stages Series, directed by Henry Godinez, in December 2009.


Watch “Unveiled”.


Learn more about Rohina Malik and her work.

Free Persian Miniature Buttons

14 Jun

Originally Posted on May 19th, 2011

Cross posted from the We the People Blog:

Come experience contemporary painting in the Muslim world, and spiritual expression of Islamic architecture with an American-born Painter and Architect of Kashmiri-Pakistani origin, Nadia Janjua.

Check out these Persian Miniature buttons Nadia is making for We the People Project 2011. If you visit Nadia in her Art Studio on June 11th from 11am-5pm, you’ll get a free button!

Featured Artist: Nadia Janjua

14 Jun

Originally Posted on May 17th, 2011

Cross posted from the EWI We the People Blog:

"I Found My Soul in a Parking Lot", $800

Nadia Janjua is a practicing Architect and professional Artist based in the Washington, D.C. area, working under the business name NJARTitecture. Born to Kashmiri-Pakistani parents, Nadia grew up in the forested mountains of Western Maryland with her three siblings, strongly influenced by the solitude and beauty of her natural surroundings. She started drawing before she could write, and she started painting with oils in adolescence. Over the past fifteen years, she has explored different paint mediums, photography, graphic design, ceramics, and printmaking, eventually spending the majority of her time on nurturing her painting ability.

Nadia is inspired by the challenge of capturing potential, nuance, and nostalgia in all of her works. Through her paintings and her architecture, she explores narratives of her past, present, and future in the hopes of not only processing her own life journey, but striking the viewer to reflect more deeply on their own personal narratives.

"Mode" $2000

Her architectural design focuses on the multi-sensory experience of space, encouraging the inhabitant to go beyond just the visual sense and become an active participant in creating the experience with all of their senses. Similarly, Nadia’s paintings involve a history of layers where line, shape, color, and texture come together to provide an elevated experience of harmony and meaning to the viewer. Her work has evolved from producing rendered images of landscapes and scenes from the East, to abstract painting, incorporating both Western and Eastern parts of her identity.


Nadia has been exhibiting her work professionally since 2002 throughout the United States, and more recently, internationally. She has numerous works commissioned by private collectors, and has contributed annually to charity, fund-raising and auction events for different causes.

"Resuscitation" $300

In 2010, she was invited to attend the first ever Marketplace of Creative Arts in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, sponsored by the World Islamic Economic Forum, and selected to moderate a panel of artists discussing “Identity in the 21st Century: Investing in the Future of Creative Arts.” In 2011, Nadia was selected as the Coordinator of Muslim Women in the Arts, an international network of approximately 500 creative individuals, and curated their debut art exhibit “Healing & Empowerment: Violence, Women & Art” in Silver Spring, MD, in April 2011. She is currently in the process of starting her own non-profit organization called Muslim Women’s Creative Empowerment, a collective of creative individuals raising awareness of women’s issues through empowering artistic expression.

View all of Nadia’s work for the We the People Project 2011.

Every Tuesday and Thursday, we will be featuring a new We the People Project 2011 exhibiting artist.

Featured Artist: Helen Zughaib

14 Jun

Originally Posted on May 11th, 2011

Cross posted from the Empowered Women International, We the People Project Blog:
                                                                                 “Abaya Driving”
Exhibiting artist Helen Zughaib was born in Beirut, Lebanon, living mostly in the Middle East and Europe before coming to the United States to study art. She received her BFA from Syracuse University, College of Visual and Performing Arts in 1981.   She paints using gouache and ink on paper, transforming her subjects into a combination of colors and patterns, creating a nontraditional sense of space and perspective.

Her work has been widely exhibited in galleries and museums in the United States, Europe and Lebanon. Her paintings are included in many private and public collections, including the White House, World Bank, Library of Congress, US Consulate General, Vancouver, Canada, American Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, and the Arab American National Museum in Detroit, Michigan. In 2008, she served as United States Cultural Envoy to the West Bank, Palestine. In 2009, she was sent to Switzerland under the State Department’s Speaker and Specialist Program. Most recently, President Obama gave one of Zughaib’s pieces to Prime Minister Nouri al- Maliki of Iraq, upon his official visit to the White House, and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, gave one of her pieces to the King of Morocco.

Helen is exhibiting seven works in the We the People Project.  The 4 Father Stories included in the We the People Project exhibit were inspired by true stories told by Helen’s father of his childhood and young adulthood in Damascus and Lebanon.  In all, the series is composed of 22 paintings and stories. Each painting is related to one of his stories from his youth before immigrating to America from Lebanon. The other 3 pieces in this show represent the strength, beauty and perserverance of women in the face of adversity.

As an Arab American, Helen feels that her background in the Middle East allows her to approach the experiences she has in America, in a unique way, remaining an observer of both the Arab and American cultures. She believes that the arts are one of the most important tools we have to help shape and foster dialogue and positive ideas between the Middle East and the United States.


View all of Helen’s works for the We The People Project 2011.


Visit Helen’s Website to learn more about her work.


Every Tuesday and Thursday, we will be featuring a new We the People Project 2011 exhibiting artist.

We the People Project 2011

14 Jun

Originally Posted on April 28th, 2011

"Abaya Driving"

We the People Project 2011: The Lives, Art, and Cultures of Muslim and Arab Women

Saturday, June 11, 11 am to 7:30 pm

Takoma Park Community Center, 7500 Maple Ave., Takoma Park, MD 20912

We the People Project 2011, “Speak Your Mind: The Art, Stories and Cultures of Arab and Muslim Women”, is an exhibition presentation and a one-day cultural event that celebrates the rich artistic and cultural heritage of Muslim and Arab community in the DC Metro area.

The program includes a four-week juried mixed media group exhibition of Muslim and Arab women artists living in the DC Metro area from June 1st though June 25th, along with a one-day event on June 11th, that features talks by the presenting artists, and art demonstrations in calligraphy, miniature paintings and textile art decoration by some of the finest local Muslim and Arab artists.

What & When:

Paintings, photographs, sculptural work and art installations by eight Muslim or Arab women or by artists depicting the lives, stories and cultures of Muslim and Arab women. Plus a full day of art and cultural festivities on June 11th from 10:30am – 4:00pm. Followed by a reception from 5-7:30pm.

Artwork will be for sale at prices established by the artist. Artist will retain 50 percent of all sales and 50 percent will benefit EWI and its multicultural arts and entrepreneurial programs for immigrant and refugee women.


The Galleries of Takoma Park Community Center.

A film will be produced to document the exhibition, talks and art demonstrations, and will be shared on our website as an educational material. The event is free of charge and open to the public.

This project has been made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Partners include Takoma Park Arts and Humanities Commission (TPAHC), Pyramid Atlantic and Takoma Park Recreation Department. The exhibition and events will take place at the Galleries of Takoma Park Community Center in Maryland. Exhibition Curator: Tom Block.

Calling Muslim & Arab Women Artists

14 Jun

Originally Posted on February 4th, 2011

"Women with Chaadari," by Fatana Arifi (Afghanistan)

EWI is issuing a call for Muslim and Arab women artists to participate in an exhibit entitled Speak Your Mind: The Art, Stories, and Cultures of Arab and Muslim Women. This is open to artists working in all media and living in the Greater Washington DC Metro Area (Maryland, Virginia and District of Columbia).


Speak Your Mind is part of the We the People Project 2011, Empowered Women International’s annual arts presentation and outreach project. The project documents through art the immigrant and refugee women’s experience, explores issues of integration and identity, and preserves and celebrates traditions, art and stories that build dialogue, respect and multicultural understanding about our global community.


“We the People Project 2011” includes a four-week juried mixed media group exhibition of Muslim and Arab women artists living in the DC Metro area along with a one-day event that features art demonstrations and talks by some of the finest local Muslim and Arab women artists. Check it out and share it with your network.


Click here to learn more.


We the People 2010:Art for Human Rights

10 Jun

Originally Posted on April 22nd, 2010

"Emmeline Pankhurst" by Naomie Belayneh

The first ever Amnesty International Human Rights Art Festival will be held in Silver Spring, MD (just outside of Washington D.C.) from April 23-25, 2010. This multi-venue, multi-media event will bring together over 400 artists, local businesses and politicians to use socially transformative art to raise awareness of human rights and justice issues, as well as the important work of Amnesty International.

The festival will run from 4 pm to late night Friday, and then 10 am to late night Saturday and Sunday. The event will raise awareness of the important work that Amnesty undertakes, as well as the quintessentially American values that they espouse.

EWI has put together its own festival inside the Human Rights Arts Festival, We the People 2010: Art for Human Rights Project , and will present a series of programs, workshops and discussions with immigrant women, artists, activists and educators, all working to promote issues of social transformation, multicultural understanding and community building.

Be sure to vote in the People’s Choice Award for this year’s We the People project, as well as look at the EWI Schedule of Events for the weekend.

April 23 – West Potomac Academy High School Honors EWI

7 Jun

Originally Posted on May 28th, 2009

April 23, 2009 – Marga Fripp was recognized by West Potomac Academy for pro bono art marketing services to the school and providing internship and professional development opportunities to students of the West Potomac Academy in the media and dance program. A group of talented student dancers presented an original choreography at We the People Project March 29 at Lorton Arts Center. During the spring semester, Leighton Good, a talented senior at West Potomac Academy in the media program, interned with EWI and developed a short video featuring foreign-born women artist entrepreneurs trained and mentored by EWI. More