Exhibition Exploring Freedom of Faith Opens at Artland Temporium Project in Brookland

By Editorial Team on June 28, 2012
Still from the documentary "The Vigil". Photo courtesy Brookland Danceplace.


Opening Reception: June 29 at 6pm


Freedom of Expression: Freedom of Faith displays artistic work in a variety of media exploring Islam and the Muslim Community. The program includes poetry readings, film screenings and discussions with filmmakers and commentators.

Exhibition curator Jack Gordon explains: “Through paintings, film, dance, poetry and music, these selected works explore Muslim identity in America, human rights in Islamic countries and inter-faith cooperation. The program invites audiences to deepen understanding, confront assumptions and dialogue together across faith and cultural traditions.”

Additional events at the pop-up gallery include:

  • June 29: Opening Reception with painter Nadia Janjua (6pm)
  • June 30: Film Screening The Vigil with Q&A with director Arya Surowidjojo (6pm)
  • July 1: Film Screening Education Under Fire with Q&A with human rights activist Sahar Sattarzadeh (4pm)
  • July 6: Poetry Reading with Crescent Moon Nights (6pm)
  • July 7: Film Screening New Muslim Cool with Q&A with co-producer Kauthar Umar (6pm)
  • July 8: Film Screening A Lover’s Call with Q&A with director Najma Nuriddin (4pm)


Artwork by Nadia Janjua. Photo courtesy Brookland Danceplace.

About the Artists and Featured Works:

Nadia Janjua (painter)
Born in Western MD in 1979, Nadia Janjua lives and works in the Washington, D.C. area as an Architect and Artist. Her new series of recent oil and mixed media paintings on canvas, She Comes With A Past: The Art of Healing, explores and empathizes with the experience of surviving childhood sexual abuse — reflecting trauma, healing and transformation through abstraction and color.

The Vigil (documentary; 30 minutes)
A Pakistani classical dancer, trained in an ancient Hindu art form, journeys home from the United States for the performance of her lifetime. Facing prejudice, legal restrictions and the threat of death by the Taliban, she makes the bold decision to tour Islamabad, Karachi and her hometown of Lahore to rekindle her nation’s 4,000-year-old dance heritage for future generations. www.thevigilfilm.com

Arya Surawidjojo is Director/Producer/Editor of The Vigil. His non-fiction film work has appeared on VanityFair.com and MHz Networks, as well as other educational and non-profit outlets.

Education Under Fire (documentary; 30 minutes)
Produced by Single Arrow Productions and co-sponsored by Amnesty International, this documentary highlights the Iranian government’s systematic denial of higher education to Bahá’ís (the country’s largest religious minority group) and the Iranian Bahá’í community’s response with the establishment of the Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education (BIHE), “an act of communal preservation,” according to The New York Times.  www.educationunderfire.com

Sahar D. Sattarzadeh is a minority rights advocate and researcher, who also conducted her former dissertation research on how the BIHE functions as a social movement in promoting the rights of minorities.

Crescent Moon Nights
Since April 2006, Crescent Moon Nights has been an exciting voice in the community of the Washington DC Spoken Word & Arts Family providing a positive family friendly environment for expression in the name of building bridges between people of diverse backgrounds under the banner of the arts and unity.  www.crescentmoonnights.com

New Muslim Cool (documentary; 1hr30min)
The award-winning feature documentary which launched the 2009 “P.O.V.” series on PBS chronicles three eventful years in the life of Jason “Hamza” Pérez, a Puerto Rican-American Muslim rapper, coming of age in a post 9/11 America.  www.pbs.org/pov/newmuslimcool

Kauthar Umar, co-producer of New Muslim Cool, received her MA from The American University, in Journalism and Public Affairs and is editor of the film’s forthcoming companion book, isl-am-erica, a photo anthology about identity, hip hop culture and Muslim youth in America.

A Lover’s Call (fiction; 25 minutes)
Aasim, a young single Muslim man living in Washington DC, has an instant connection with a beautiful poet named Kala. After spending more time with her, Aasim realizes she isn’t Muslim. He is torn by his new discovery of attraction towards Kala and the principles of his own faith.

Najma Nuriddin, Director of A Lover’s Call, is a native Californian with a B.A. in Speech and Communications from San Francisco State University and a Masters in Fine Arts in Film from Howard University. Najma feels films are necessary because without documentation of our lives and our past lives, we will forever remain an unsolved mystery.

Jack Gordon (Curator) is a DC-based media producer and photographer who also serves as a Board member of the InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington representing the local Bahá’í community. He is currently working on Faith in Action DC, a multimedia project that documents and celebrates diverse people of faith serving the DC region.

About Artland:
Artland is a 12 week public art celebration offering free cultural events and promoting creative expression. The events are housed in temporary art spaces (Temporiums), animating public areas and revitalizing two vacant storefronts in the Monroe Street NE area.

Presented by Dance Place with guest curators from the DC creative community, Artland events will take place every weekend between June 1 and August 26, 2012 and are free to the public.

The Artland/Brookland Art and Cultural Temporium project is made possible by support from the DC Office of Planning and ArtPlace.

About the Venue:
12th Street Gallery is a temporary art space (Temporium) housed in a vacant storefront, which has been brought to life as an exhibition space for visual arts. As well as providing a showcase for local artists and craftsmen to display and sell their work, 12th Street Gallery also hosts spoken word and poetry performances.

Gallery hours:

  • Fridays-Sundays June 29 – July 8, 2012.
  • Fridays and Saturdays: 5pm to 8pm
  • Sundays: 3pm to  6pm

for more information go to: www.danceplace.org/events/artland

The Artland temporium project is located at 12th Street Gallery, 3500 12th Street NE, Washington DC

TICKETS: all events are free.  Free tickets for Dance Place performances also available at each Temporium location.

About Dance Place:
Founded in 1980, Dance Place builds a community of dance artists, audiences, and students through high quality performances, commissions, training and educational program. We are committed to enriching the field of dance locally, nationally and internationally. Our thriving arts campus serves as an anchor in the development of our Brookland neighborhood in Washington, DC.