Thursday, August 27, 2009

Muslims in Canada

Muslims in Canada

I'm writing this after a delay of almost a month... Wow, it's hard to believe my time in London is over! (for the time being, that is) I loved all the drawings I made over there - drawings that I now plan to put into book form (this is one of my projects - more on this later). Meanwhile, I've been busy setting myself up back in Canada. One of the little side projects I've gotten into while back is being asked to create some illustrations based on the theme of the book Diaspora By Design: Muslim Immigrants in Canada and Beyond by Haideh Moghissi, Saeed Rahnema and Mark J. Goodman. The book interviews 2,350 Iranian, Pakistani, Afghani, and Palestinian immigrants on a wide range of personal, religious and political topics. Along the way it successfully busts some damaging stereotypes. It also takes seriously the unfortunate "culture of fear" that exists beneath the veneer of tolerance even in a land as diverse and accommodating as Canada. Of course not everyone participates in this culture but enough people do, in my opinion, that such a book is both warranted and welcome. In essence, I feel the book celebrates the diversity of Canadian Muslim life, and this is what I've tried to capture in these simple drawings of Muslims from the countries mentioned in the book. So you have the urban Iranian Muslim woman in a fashionable scarf and black blouse smiling broadly, alongside a pious elder Afghani man deep in prayer. Also there's the bright eyed Pakistani boy and a veiled woman in a burka, whose eyes also tell a story (if I've succeeded in drawing her right, that is). I'm proud to have made these drawings upon my return to Canada - it's a fitting start and a nice first project. Incidentally these drawings are for the upcoming October issue of the Literary Review of Canada (LRC). Check out the LRC website at

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Last Few London Drawings

Sorry I've been away for a little while... I've been packing and moving. Sadly, my time in London is (for the time being) over. I'm sure to be back, however - my girlfriend and I love this city! We returned to Canada a few days ago and are still getting adjusted to life back on this side of the globe. Here are the last few drawings from London, done during a shopping trip on Oxford Street. I loved my time in London - what a great city! So much to do there, so much inspiration. However, I'm also happy to be back home. Over the next year I will divide my time between Montreal and Ottawa, so stay tuned for more sketches from two different places! Each city has its own charm: Montreal has great character, interesting people, while Ottawa (the country's capital) has its own character and also beautiful natural spaces. As always the rule will be whatever catches my eye... we'll see what happens! :)

By the way, I am currently working on putting my London drawings into a book - more details to come soon. Also, thanks to exposure from Flickr, it looks like I'll be the subject of a lead feature in an on-line publication called Downtown LA Life Magazine, an arts and culture educational and community magazine that reviews and informs about artists, art, etc and looks to have some pretty cool connections in LA! More information about that coming up too...

And finally, I wanted to say a TEMPORARY goodbye to all the friends I met in London. You made my time there very special! Thank you so much and we'll keep be in touch - I know we will meet up in one place of the globe or another! :)