January 25, 2007

Abdul-Musawwir to speak at Indiana University arts festival

by Sun Min

CARBONDALE, Ill. – An award-winning painter from Southern Illinois University Carbondale will be a featured speaker at the Middle Eastern Arts Festival set for Feb. 1-10 at Indiana University.

Najjar Abdul-Musawwir, assistant professor in the School of Art and Design, is an artist internationally known for his paintings with Islamic themes. He will conduct a demonstration of his unique painting style and exhibit four of his paintings during the annual conference, which draws scholars and enthusiasts from across the country. Audiences will enjoy Middle Eastern art and ethnomusicology, films, folkdance, poetry and lectures.

"Sharing my Islamic/African-American experience as a visual artist with Indiana University and the Bloomington community excites me," Abdul-Musawwir said. "Mixed-media abstract paintings and drawings incorporating contemporary Islamic and African-American history (text), and Islamic forms into two-dimensional paintings, and installations have allowed me to unveil a broader visual discussion to the art and academic community."

Abdul-Musawwir converted to Islam in 1980 at the age of 19. At SIUC, he teaches drawing, painting and art history. He is also 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, Black Creativity Honorable Mention from the Museum of Science and Industry and the Rickert-Ziebold Trust Award from SIUC. His art has been seen in exhibitions across the country and in England, Africa, Japan and Saudi Arabia.

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