A mystery of a painting at the center of controversy
Ages ago, when I first finished my undergraduate studies, I had one of my first exhibitions in New York City in 2003. I presented two or three paintings in a small group show. One of my included works, “Bedouin: Self-Portrait” (2002), was eventually purchased by the University of St. Cloud in 2006. As one of my first ‘real’ paintings, it exudes the naivety of an artist just starting out; this particular painting, however, was significant to me in that it paved the way, conceptually, to much of the work I am currently doing.
In an unrelated (and sort of related) story, you might remember the media hype and controversy surrounding the Islamic cultural center to be built in the “vicinity” of ground zero in NY. Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, a well known spiritual leader behind the Islamic Center and the figure behind this controversy, is the husband of Daisy Khan, the executive director of ASMA (The American Society for Muslim Advancement). Again, ages ago, ASMA saw my work at this NY exhibition and requested an interview with me. Through this interview, which still lives on their website (oh how young and inexperienced I was), I have been invited to conferences held by ASMA and have been contacted by Sep Riahi, producer and writer of “Extraordinary Women from the Muslim World” a children’s book I was hired to illustrate (just an addendum to show how things connect).
Then, in 2010 a friend sent me a link and an enthusiastic message expressing he had recognized my work on CNN! CNN? I don’t remember doing anything with CNN. Turns out, my painting hung on the walls of Imam Feisal’s offices during an interview he did in 2010. How it got there, I have no idea. My only knowledge about that painting being in NYC was during my first show in 2002. It was purchased by the University of St. Cloud, Minnesota in 2006.
The story is here: http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2010/09/08/imam-we-are-proceeding-with-nyc-islamic-center/?hpt=ac_mid (my debut at 1:58!)
Oh, how I love being indirectly implied in huge controversy without my knowledge!