Exhibition at University of Michigan showcases narratives, diversity of Detroit’s Muslim community

‘Halal Metropolis’ now on view at U-M Stamps Gallery

Front gallery view of Halal Metropolis, on view at Stamps Gallery (201 S. Division St., Ann Arbor) through July 17, 2021. (Nick Beardslee)

ANN ARBOR – A new exhibition at the University of Michigan Stamps Gallery examines the experiences of the Detroit and Southeast Michigan Muslim populations as viewed through documentation, historical research, current events and analysis of future aspirations.

Halal Metropolis” was created and curated by artist and associate professor at U-M’s Stamps School of Art & Design, Osman Khan, Stamps graduate student and photographer Razi Jafri and associate professor and director of U-M Dearborn’s Center for Arab American Studies Sally How­ell.

The exhibit will be on view until July 17.

According to its organizers, the exhibit alludes to the Metro Detroit Muslim population -- one of nation’s largest and most diverse Muslim populations -- whose visibility in the city is countered by a silent narrative when discussing the larger Detroit story.

“This is part of a series of exhibitions we’ve presented in recent years that looks at the visibility, and in some sense, the invisibility of the Muslim population in our state,” Khan, who is also presenting at the show, said in a release. “They’re very visible, but in the Detroit narrative, they’re sort of lost.”

Back gallery view of Halal Metropolis, on view at Stamps Gallery (201 S. Division St., Ann Arbor) through July 17, 2021. (Nick Beardslee)

“Halal Metropolis” blends social and political artifacts, photography, art and archival materials to explore these concepts.

“Often stories about Muslims in America in general are not very nuanced,” Jafri said in a release. “They’re presented as monolithic or single minded. What we want people to really take away from this exhibition is an understanding of how diverse, multiethnic and multicultural we are—and we also want to highlight how Muslims are inextricable from the cultural fabric and of American history.”

Participating artists include: Amna Asghar, Qais Assali, BGIRL MAMA, Nour Ball­out, Adnan Charara, Kecia Escoe, Parisa Ghaderi, Anthony Keith Giannini, Razi Jafri, Osman Khan, Maamoul Press, Endi Poskovic, Haleem “Stringz” Rasul and Reem Taki.

“Halal Metropolis” is presented in partnership with U-M Dearborn’s Center for Arab American Studies, with support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Doris Duke Foundation, Knight Foundation, Community Foundation of SE Michigan, El-Hibri Foundation and Michigan Humanities Council.

Operated by the U-M Stamps School of Art & Design, the Stamps Gallery is free and open to the public. It is currently open by appointment only on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Click here to register your visit in advance.

The Stamps Gallery is located at 201 S. Division St.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.