“Free To Be” exhibit to open next week in Mile End

Free To Be exhibit. Pic: Samah Ba Azeeb

An exhibition showcasing the work of young Muslim women in Britain starts in Mile End Park next week.

“Free To Be” is based on media workshops organized by the SHE Project, which took place over the summer, aiming to challenge the negative stereotypes surrounding Muslim girls in the country.

The SHE Project, was started by the Kiran Project, which focuses on social and economic disadvantages of Black and Ethnic minorities. SHE deals with the contemporary issues affecting young Muslim girls.

“We want to tackle the issue of misrepresented Muslim girls and portray their actual reality in the UK,” said a SHE Project representative.

By giving them access to fine art, photography, film and radio, the team helped the young women express their creativity and share their stories of being female and Muslim.

The representative of SHE said they help the young women focus on their own experiences: “We help these young women focus on personal development and issues that effect them. However, we also encourage looking at the positive side and celebrating the positive contributions of Islam in society.”

The project works with girls aged 10-25 and hopes to give the girls “experience, talent and confidence,” and help them find their identities.

The SHE Project is not an Islamic Center and does not deal with religion-related issues. The project is funded by Big Lottery and operates in East London.

SHE says that according to statistics Muslim girls are at a disadvantage in terms of education and employment. “The Lottery realizes this and supports us in helping them have better life opportunities”, said the representative.

The SHE team says that it is crucial for young Muslim girls to develop artistic and creative skills, as it plays a major role in empowering them.

“Through these workshops, they only got a small taste of what they’re capable of,” said the SHE representative.

The launch on Tuesday, October 25th, will include quest speakers, like Aaqil Ahmed, Head of Religion and Ethics at the BBC, Reedah El–Saie, Director of the Mica Gallery, and the Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Luthfur Rahman.

The exhibition opens from October 25th-29th from 6-9pm at the Mile end Art Pavilion, Clinton Road, London.



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