Boxes and Banners by Mississauga Arts Council

I have always admired the street art that adorns Toronto so I was overjoyed when the Mississauga Arts Council started their Boxes and Banners Project to beautify (artify!) Mississauga streets. I am humbled to be one of the lucky artists who painted a Bell box.

Here is my box’s transformation!

It was unveiled amidst a bit of fanfare with the Mississauga Arts Council and some of its board members, the local Councillor and singer Arlene Paculan to serenade us. There was ice cream for everyone who attended the unveiling, and yes it was one hot day!

I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me

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Ever feel like you were being watched? Yeah me too sometimes. Courtesy of Middle Child, Twin 1 and Twin 2.

Art Exhibit

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So I got this in the first week of January. A really nice way to start the year! You can see my piece here : All Women Art Exhibition

In between the art nights that I am doing I hope to put in some more time for exhibitions. Had an art night yesterday, and the paintings all turned out awesome ( so proud of my participants! You all did an incredible job!) Check out the paintings…

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CN Tower and a summer sunset.

Sketchbook

I have been trying to keep up with my sketch book along with the paint nights, mornings and afternoons. Yes I did a paint breakfast as well as the paint lunches and dinners!

My participants have given me motivating feedback, and I am happy that painting has proven to be such a fun and  at the same time stress relieving activity for them as well as for me. I am having one last event on the 30th of December. I hadn’t planned on doing any more before January 2016, but there were so many requests for one last “hurrah” before next year 🙂

With all the planning, painting and other stuff  that goes into organizing these paint events I have less time to practice in my sketchbook. But I choose simple little drawings that I can manage while watching Dr.Who with my girls. So here’s a peek at my sketchbook…

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and this last one I started yesterday ….

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I hope to finish this one tonight. I also have some paintings I am working on for a silent auction for charity…busy !!!

SL-Week 15: Communication

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Solitude, best time for communication with As-Samad, the Eternally Besought.

 

I am all wrapped up in artsy events these days and can’t find the time to write on my blog. So I thought this photo challenge might be fun! Do check out this website, Silvain Landry,  for awesome photos!

Weekly Photo Challange: Happy Place

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This says it all. Happy Place.

Let’s Paint This!

After the art exhibit at MuslimFest this summer, I had all sorts of artsy ideas bouncing around my head. So I decided to bring some art to my community. It turns out painting is a great way to unwind!

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Sunsets.

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Food!

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Artsy ladies.

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I painted one in the morning and then one in the evening as I instructed.

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Le finished masterpieces!

It turned out well for the first time, we had lots of fun. I would love your suggestions and tips to make it better though!

Autumn is Sneaking In

School opening again sort of means summer is over, even though it’s not and the weather is still awesome and there may be some more beach days. However the trees are being sneakily “Autumnized” with brilliantly painted leaves. School opening definitely means more time to write though and more time to “art”. I was up to some artsy stuff when I got the chance, kids joined in and we made some masterpieces together. I am trying out the photo real stuff, need lots of practice, but I love it.

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Did this scenery for someone.

Practised plenty in the sketchbook too…

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Would you like a jelly bean?

We Need Less Barbie, Less Fake Cover Girls and More Warriors.

Dear Darling Daughters,

I overheard you talking to each other while you played with your dolls. I was relieved for the few minutes of conflict free cooperation amongst you. But what you, my youngest munchkin, said was far worse for me than one of your epic battles.

“I wish I had blond hair and blue eyes and was pretty like Barbie.”

I read about stuff like this all the time. It didn’t really matter of course until you said it because I thought I was doing such a good job by giving you confidence that looks don’t matter and everyone is beautiful in their own way etc etc.  But of course you do not live in a bubble and I cannot shield you from our increasingly shallow world. I suppose it was my fault for buying the damn dolls in the first place, but you know the thing is every mom wants her little girl to have nice toys. I just misjudged what nice is. Thanks a lot Mattel.

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(No. Just no! Pic from here.)

I tried to fix this problem by going out and finding some brown skinned, black haired dolls. Voila, thank you Disney for Mulan, Pocahontas and Jasmine. Although they should have done their homework because no, that is not what Arab princesses wore.  Belly dancers yes, but Jasmine was not a belly dancer. Also Pocahontas was only about ten or eleven and apparently she never saved John Smith.  Yes unfortunately women are objectified. A lot. I will explain what that means later, right now let’s just stick to My Little Pony. Okay yeah it has something to do with how they look in certain clothes. Yes, a certain lack of clothes. Thanks a lot Disney! Yes the bumpy parts that are barely covered by their skimpy clothes. No, it is not something good to walk around like that. Your body is yours, it should not be on display for everybody to ogle at!

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(What exactly is the message here?)

Anyways looking pretty means different things to different people. There is not just one way to look pretty, in some countries the idea of pretty is very different and many of us wouldn’t see it as pretty. Like the giraffe women of Burma.

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Yeah long neck.

And some countries in Africa have tribes that take great pride in lip plates….

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Ouch, but it is beautiful to them.

More importantly I also want you to know that looks are not everything. Even if, eventually, the entire world goes crazy and thinks that they are. The thing that matters most is what is inside, and what you do with it. You can’t change the way you look, but you can change the way the world looks at you.

Mulan , Jasmine and Pocahontas didn’t actually look like that by the way. No one looks like that. Jasmine wasn’t even a real person. Yes models are real people, but no they don’t really look like that. Their pictures are photo shopped to make you think they look like that. Why? So women and girls spend their money on makeup and silly products because they think they will look like that. Yes there are people who make money out of fooling people. It is not a good thing, but it is a thing.

Never mind. So according to the legend, Mulan was an awesome girl who fought in the war in place of her old father who couldn’t fight. Do you think she worried about her hair? No.

What do I mean by legend? Well legend means that it might or might not be true, but there must have been something to  the story. Okay here’s a story that I can assure you is true.

There was once an Arab female warrior that fought in many wars hundreds of years ago, during the time of the Holy Prophet. Her brother, who was a knight, had always been very proud of her and taught her to handle her sword so well she became a skilled fighter. She was also a great poet. She was smart, brave and she eventually led an army into battle!

When her brother was taken prisoner during a war, she didn’t sit back and let someone else go save him. She led an attack, won the fight and saved all the prisoners including her brother. She fought fearlessly in lots of battles and stood by what she believed in, she inspired men and women because of her bravery. One time she was captured by the enemy, you know what she did? She motivated the other prisoners and together they fought their way out with tent poles and pegs as weapons! She didn’t let anything get her down and she probably didn’t own any glittery lip gloss or whatever it was they used back then.

I can tell that you like this little bit of history.

“She was awesome! Was she brown?” You ask me.

“Yes.” I answer.

“Did she have long black hair?” you want to know.

“Yup.”

“Was her name Jasmine?”

“No. Her name was Khaula. Khaula Bint Al-Azwer.” I answer with great satisfaction as wide grins spread across your precious coffee colored faces.

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(Pic from here.)

(Disclaimer: I have nothing against girls playing with dolls, but we need to teach our girls they have the ability to be so much more than just pink frilly show pieces. There are more important things than looking good and taking endless selfies. Warrior is meant in the metaphorical sense, I am not encouraging girls to pick up arms and start a war. However if they are keen to learn fencing or archery I say go for it!)

Polygamy, I get it. But no thank you!

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I wrote a post about polygamy for Blog Her, and they featured it. I had originally titled it “I’m Muslim, but if my husband thinks of a second wife, I’ll reach for my shotgun!” I suspect the title had a little to do with it getting so many reads ( I was pleasantly surprised to get that much attention).  You can read it here.

We are still waiting for spring weather to come, it gives us a glimpse then disappears again!

I also started a magazine style blog because I wanted people to share their cultures from around the world. I put up a few random posts to get it started but I invite anyone of you who are interested in contributing to please send me a post. You can see what it is all about here : Cafe Mosaic.ca I will share links to your blogs and websites so you get some traffic.