by Jiwa, Munir
This article is based on ethnographic fieldwork I conducted with Muslim visual artists in New York City. It assumes that art is a particular medium or media form that not only gives us insight into the processes of creative expression, but helps us understand the relationship between global media events and their localized practices. For Muslim visual artists, and Muslims in general, “9/11” has become a significant marker of time in thinking about issues of identity, belonging and representation. Even in the art worlds, the larger tropes of Islam/Muslims—terrorism, violence, veiling, patriarchy, the Middle East—become the normative frames and images within and against which Muslim artists do their work. I outline the ways Muslim artists as cultural producers are not only contesting art world boundaries in terms of new and emerging forms of identification, but also the various sites where they are being forged. Muslim artists explore new ways of thinking about being Muslim, not necessarily as a theological or aesthetic unity, but as a minority identification in the West/America. I focus on the work of two artists, Nigerian-born Fatimah Tuggar and Pakistani-born Shahzia Sikander.