“150 Muslim Contributions to Canada” and “Blue God and the Serpents” are two new exhibits at PAMA which highlight the multicultural nature of Canadian communities. As part of Culture Days and Doors Open Brampton, PAMA will offer free admission to visitors all weekend.

“150 Muslim Contributions to Canada” focuses on members and groups from the Muslim community and the positive impact they’ve had on Canada. Initially launched last month at MuslimFest, the multimedia exhibit will be at PAMA beginning Saturday, September 30 and continuing through January 2018.

“150 Muslim Contributions to Canada” is the brainchild of MuslimFest exhibit program manager Maduba Ahmad, who wanted an engaging way to bring communities together and show how the Muslim community has impacted Canadian culture in a positive way.

Each artist was encouraged to pick a topic or subject that would show how Muslims are a vital part of Canadian culture and society.

One piece of multi-media artwork from Montreal-based visual artist Aquil Virani depicts speech language pathologist Kathy Malas, and is part of his #CelebrateHer series. Another series of photos shows the live artwork Virani created with the community of Montreal and presented to the cultural centre in Sainte-Foy after the terrorist attacks earlier this year.

Self-taught Khaula Mazhar, who has been sketching and painting since childhood, has two pieces at the exhibit, both of which she created to show how Canada is a diverse and open-minded nation. One was inspired by a K’naan concert she attended with her children. The other uses acrylic paint on layers of Mylar to create depth and visual interest.

Thaniath Siddiqui’s piece was inspired by Nazira (Naz) Tareen from Otttawa, and shows the range of Tareen’s volunteer and community work in the area, including the Muslim Women’s Association, housing, and multi-faith initiatives. This mixed media piece incorporates acrylic paint with handmade paper and reflects Siddiqui’s cultural influences, from India to Canada and beyond.

Says PAMA Art Gallery Curator Tom Smart, “We are thrilled to showcase this travelling exhibition with our partners from MuslimFest and to share the dynamic stories from artists in the Muslim community in celebration of Islamic Heritage Month in October.”

Brampton-based artist Sharada Eswar and her collaborative team of Sonja Rainey and Rup Sidhu will be presenting their opening performance of “Blue God and the Serpents” at PAMA on Saturday, September 30 from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.

This multi-media exhibit incorporates shadow puppetry, video, music, and vocal performances to depict the ten incarnations of Vishnu. Eswar, a practicing Hindu who moved to Brampton from India 16 years ago,  says, “When there is imbalance in the world, Vishnu reincarnates to make sure dharma is restored.”

Rainey has a live performance background and acts as the puppeteer. She says because the exhibit “kaleidoscopes” imagery, it makes it relevant to contemporary art and culture. Sidhu, who is a musician and producer, says this project pushed him in a new direction since it utilized modern interpretations of ancient Carnatic music.

For more information on both exhibits, check out the PAMA website.

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