October 05, 2006

SIUC artist to speak at Saint Louis Art Museum

by Sun Min

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- An award-winning painter from Southern Illinois University Carbondale will be a featured speaker at the Saint Louis Art Museum in Forest Park on Oct. 29 at 2 p.m.

Najjar Abdul-Musawwir, assistant professor in the School of Art and Design, will present a talk entitled, "Understanding Symbols: A Discussion of Traditional and Contemporary Islamic Art." Specifically, Abdul-Musawwir will speak about symbols found on prayer rugs in the Islamic art collection of the museum.

"I am very honored they invited me to talk about something that is dear to me," Abdul-Musawwir said. "Traditional Islamic work relates to some of contemporary Islamic work that I'm working on. I hope people can become more educated about the significance of Islamic art."

Abdul-Musawwir converted to Islam in 1980 at the age of 19, and his religious beliefs play central themes in his art. He recently showcased his paintings during the "Show Me St. Louis Artists" festival at the Portfolio Gallery in St. Louis.

Abdul-Musawwir teaches drawing, painting and art history. He is a board member of the African-American Museum of Southern Illinois and of the Masjid An-Nur mosque in Carbondale. For six years, he served as faculty adviser to the SIUC Muslim Student Association.

Abdul-Musawwir is the winner of numerous awards, including an Illinois Consortium Educational Opportunity Fellowship and a Black Creativity Honorable Mention from the Museum of Science and Industry. He has exhibited his works across the country and in England, Africa, Japan and Saudi Arabia.

Abdul-Musawwir is a two-degree graduate of SIUC, earning a bachelor of art in 1992 and a master of fine arts in 1997.

Seeking and celebrating faculty excellence are among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.