Images courtesy of Ernie Hale; glass mosaic painting Al-Khaliq by Hayat Gul
Michael Christensen, folklorist and curator, organized an exhibit of sculptures from the 99 Names project at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center in West Valley City, Utah. In poignant resonance with the exhibit, down the road a bit in Sandy, Utah is the Healing Field of Flags–a thoughtful and peaceful reflection on the tragic loss of life of 9/11, a beautiful and healing memorial for the 10th anniversary.
The exhibit opening at UCCC was well-attended, due in large part to Cafe Mazza and Shahrazad Market and Restaurant, who provided amazing refreshments. To give a bit of context for attendees to the exhibit, Michael asked me to write a short essay about visual cues in Islamic Art (here). Friends from Alrasool Islamic Center, the Islamic Society of Greater Salt Lake, Pacifica Institute Utah, Salt Lake American Muslim, Utah Civility, and Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable were among those that came. Lisa Schencker of the Salt Lake Tribune came, and we had a good visit (her article). Aaron Crim of Deseret News wrote about the exhibit, as did Kimberly Martinez of West Valley Journal (her article), and folks at Radio Islam heard about the show, too. Carole Mikita and cameraman John from KSL TV News did a video interview regarding the exhibit, also.
In addition to the sculptures and blueprints of the project, my friend Hayat Gul gave us permission to display one of her mosaic paintings, and my friends Peter Gould, Ithyar, Rafia Hussain Kamel, Amina Malik, Samir Malik, Dr. Fayeq Oweis, Mamoun Sakkal, and Teakster let us show a slideshow of their Holy Name calligraphy. Also, several local families allowed us to display objects from their homes which bear the Holy Names.
Mindful of the anniversary of 9/11, my friends at Pacifica Institute wrote an open letter expressing their thoughts at this time–sentiments shared by the great majority of Muslims worldwide, and supported by the Qur’an. Muslims in the US, alongside Christians, Jews, and many other faiths, are profoundly grateful for the freedoms of worship and expression afforded us, and the extraordinary freedom and responsibilities of the American democratic process–and pray with all their hearts, alongside every American, that 9/11 will never, ever happen again.
Michael Christensen and everyone at UCCC has done a wonderful job to make the exhibit a success.