Passion in Practice: Muslims of the Carolinas is a multimedia exhibit featuring Muslim students as they pursue their passions or interests and exemplify Islam in their daily lives. From the musings of a poet to the pirouette of a ballerina to the notes on a violinist’s music sheets; the many embodiments featured here render Islam an intricate and live form of art – the essence of which is captured by Muslims throughout their daily lives.
Aisha Anwar is a writer and photographer based in North Carolina. She is the fiction editor of Cellar Door and a contributor for Muslim American magazine. Aisha has spent time in Karachi, Pakistan studying the Zenana (women’s space) and collecting women’s stories that she hopes to assemble into an anthology of short stories. In the academy, she spends her time digging through archives, curating exhibits, and writing for a slate of publications. Her written work ranges from book reviews to pieces on health care and social attitudes to portraits of human life. She’s interested in depictions of ethnic children in juvenile literature. There are rumors that her first children’s book, Finding Layla, is in the making. At present, she is photographing and researching masjids of Charlotte to chart the development of the Muslim community along gendered and generational lines. Aisha’s photographs and writing have appeared in ISLAMiCommentary, The Daily Tar Heel, Carolina Quarterly, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. Follow her on Twitter @Aisha_Anwar01.
Layla Quran is a graduate student at New York University. Her past research and multimedia projects include interviewing Iraqi refugees about the physical and psychological barriers which emerged between the Iraqi people after the US invasion, and the impact and role of the Arts in Palestine. Layla has spent time in Istanbul, Turkey, collecting sound bites and footage for a project on how Kurdish individuals assert their identity within Turkey. She also interned at the Southern Oral History Program in the UNC Center for the Study of the American South, where she completed an oral history project on the LGBTQ rights movement and the sexual revolution at UNC in the 1970s. Layla has also presented her self-designed research projects at various research conferences in the southeast, and most recently, at Harvard’s National Collegiate Research Conference. She hopes to continue creating art and media in order to promote alternative ways of viewing the world. Follow her on twitter @theLaylz