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Lighting Up Muslim Cultures and Art

24 January 2017 | Remona Aly

Amal is a lighthouse. It’s a trend, it’s a legacy, it’s a doorway. When I was first invited to be a part of this crucial project, it felt like both coming home and setting out on an open road. It’s like coming home because Muslim culture and arts have a beautifully rich heritage that brings familiarity and nostalgia, and it’s like an open road, because it’s an evolving journey that stokes imagination and leads to adventure.

Having focused on British Muslim lifestyle, culture and identity for well over a decade through my work, what never fails to strike me is the enormous potential and complex creativity that exist in our communities. But our artists often struggle in separate, disconnected pockets, and frustratingly their craft can wane due to the lack of a strong network, opportunity and financial support. Amal is both grounding and groundbreaking in this regard. It is a port that centres the flow of new ideas and talent, and vitally, it enables artists to grow and launch into new horizons.

It is through culture and art that we seek to explore, to challenge, to understand, to fall in love with the human experience. Amal understands the essential role that the arts play in society, and with far-reaching vision, the project decisively invests in the evolution of the cultural landscape in Britain – which in turn advances the global cultural scene.

There is such great promise, such great talent among our communities and Amal is providing the framework to build it up – it connects the dots, underlines capability, and strengthens the cultural ecosystem where creatives can connect, support and enrich each other’s unique craft.

Whether it’s storytelling, visual arts, poetry, film, music or dance, as the universal poet Rumi says, “Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” Now is the time for people of all backgrounds to share in that beauty, in that love, in that buzz. I look forward to seeing this lighthouse of Muslim culture shine as it deserves, and to celebrating it even further as a beacon of British and global cultural expression.

 

Celebrating Women this March

To mark International Women’s Day this month, we’re spotlighting some of the brilliant female Muslim artists in the UK that we’ve worked with so far.

Word Play

The right words go a long way and our two new partners will surely agree.

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