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1st Floor Mardigian Library

 Today's Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Upcoming Hours

Halal Metropolis

January 17 - April 3

Special Saturday hours: 12 noon to 5:00 p.m.

About the Exhibition

Portrait of 2 menPhoto by Razi Jafri

Halal Metropolis is a travelling series of exhibitions by artist Osman Khan, photographer Razi Jafri, and historian Sally Howell, that explores the facts, fictions and imaginaries of the Muslim population(s) in Detroit and Southeast Michigan as viewed through historical/archival research, documentation of current conditions, and explorations of future desires. The UM- Dearborn installation in the Stamelos Gallery Center will highlight the role that food, fashion, and holiday celebrations have played in augmenting Muslim visbility in the region.

The Halal Metropolis alludes to the established and growing Muslim population in Detroit and its metro area, one of the largest and most diverse Muslim populations in the U.S., whose visibility is both pronounced and extremely present in the city, yet whose narrative seems unusually silent in the larger Detroit story. The exhibition moves beyond wanting to simply illustrate or document the current state of this halal metropolis into exploring the congruent and contradicting ideas, aesthetics, and cultures working to make the halal metropolis both a real and imaginary entity.

portrait of woman and girlPhoto by Razi Jafri

Overall, the exhibition addresses the ambiguities and realities of the halal metropolis. The installation is conjured as a modular, traveling installation that adjusts and adapts to the different socio-political contexts and gallery spaces of the metro Detroit region. Each installation addresses local histories of inclusion and exclusion, of aesthetic adaption and accommodation, and of the cultural and economic growth of Muslim and non-Muslim communities alike.

The exhibition is accompanied by a robust series of public programming centered around the different aesthetic, cultural, and political practices that make Muslims visible in Detroit. These community conversations take many forms, including cultural events, lectures, design charrettes, workshops, performances, food and hospitality events, demonstrations, hands-on maker events, lectures, etc. Each is designed to engage and challenge the assumptions of diverse audiences.

portrait of muslim familyPhoto by Razi Jafri


Guest Curators

photo of Sally Howell

Sally Howell is Associate Professor of History and Director of the Center for Arab American Studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Her books include the co-authored Citizenship and Crisis: Arab Detroit After 2009) 11/9, Russell Sage Foundation Press), co-edited Arab Detroit 11/9: Life in the Terror Decade (2011, Wayne State University Press), and Old Islam in Detroit: Rediscovering the Muslim American Past (2014, Oxford University Press). Howell has also curated several exhibitions on the history and culture of the Arab and Muslim communities of Detroit including Building Islam in Detroit: Foundations/Forms/ Futures (2003, University of Michigan, toured to 22 sites in 7 countries) and A Community between Two Worlds: Arab American in Greater Detroit (1995, National Museum of American HIstory). Howell is currently completing a book entitled Halal Metropolis: Mosques, Markets, and Neighborhood Development which explores the mutual constitution of local publics and religious minorities across the urban and suburban landscape in Michigan.

photo of Razi Jafri

Razi Jafri is a Detroit-based documentary photographer and lmmaker whose work focuses on ethnicity, religion, culture, immigration, democracy, and the changing urban landscape in American. Razi's other interests span across the spectrum of art, design, social justice, entrepreneurship, and storytelling. Razi attended the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and received a Bachelor's degree in Engineering. He was previously a fellow in the Documenting Detroit Fellowship in documentary photography and photojournalism. Most recently he was named a member of the New York Foundation for the Arts Immigrants Artists Mentorship Program.

photo of Osman Khan

Osman Khan is an artist interested in constructing artifacts and experiences for social criticism and aesthetic expression. His work plays and subverts the materiality behind themes of identity, home/land, social and public space through participatory & performative installations and site-specic interventions. Khan was born in Pakistan and grew up in New York City. He received a Bachelor of Science from Columbia University. He completed his MFA at UCLA in 2004. He is currently an Associate Professor and Director of the MFA Program at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan. His work has been shown at MOCAD, the Shanghai Biennale; L.A. Louver; Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art; Ars Electronica Center, O.K Center for Contemporary Art; Socrates Sculpture Park, among others. He is a recipient of an Art Matters grant, Ars Electronica's Prix Ars Award of Distinction and The Arctic Circle 2009 Residency. Articles about his work have appeared in Artforum, Artweek, Art Review, Hyperallergic, DesignBoom, I.D., the NY Times, LA Times, the Wall Street Journal and Artnet.

Exhibition Events

Opening Reception
Friday, January 17, 2020, 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Reception is free to the public. Complimentary hors d'oeuvres and refreshments provided.
Performance by Maples Drum Ensemble from Maples Elementary.

Educational Lectures

All lectures are free to the public. Complimentary refreshments will be provided.

January 23, 6:00- 8:00 p.m. - Gallery Talk by Halal Metropolis Guest Curators

February 6, 6:00- 8:00 p.m. - Culinary Pioneers

February 20, 6:00- 8:00 p.m. - Fashion Influencers

March 12, 6:00- 8:00 p.m. - Foodies and Innovators

March 26, 6:00- 8:00 p.m. - Innovating the Halal Holiday

Featured University Art Collection Piece

Featured collection glass artwork

Taketori Tale, Kyohei Fujita (b. 1921), n.d., Mold blown glass with gold and silver foil inclusions
Gift of Richard and Louise Abrahams, Collection of UM-Dearborn (Adp39), Photograph by Kip Kriigel

World renowned artist Kyohei Fujita was born in Japan in 1921. He is known as the father of Japanese studio glass. Many of his works, including this one, were inspired by early Japanese boxes that were richly decorated with lacquerwork and mother-of-pearl inlays, and traditionally used to store Buddhist writings, jewelry, inkstones and brushes. Fujita's celebrated ornamental glass boxes revive conventional Japanese aesthetics in a contemporary form. This breathtaking piece was mold blown with gold and silver foil inclusions. Whenever asked by collectors what to keep in the boxes, the artist usually stated "You should put your dreams in them."

---Laura Cotton, Art Curator and Gallery Manager

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  • Stamelos Gallery Center
  • 1st Floor, Mardigian Library, UM-Dearborn
  • 4901 Evergreen Road, Dearborn, MI 48128
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