Collective Moments: Muslim Sisterhood Takeover

  • Muslim Sisterhood co-founders, Photo Abdourahman Njie, 2018_1

    Photo: Abdourahman Njie, 2018 

Past Event

This event was on Thur 3 March, 6.30pm

Access Information

Films, DJ sets, Workshops 

Artist collective Muslim Sisterhood take over Whitechapel Gallery for an evening of creativity and celebration. Developed as a nurturing collaboration between friends, the collective seeks to create safe spaces of radical joy for young Muslims through their work in photography, fashion, art direction and publishing. 

Please Note: Due to limited capacities, we will operate a one in, one out system in select areas throughout the Gallery.

This event is now fully booked. If you are unable to attend, please contact so we may share your tickets with others. 

About Muslim Sisterhood

Originally starting out as a photo series capturing young Muslim women and non-binary Muslims, Muslim Sisterhood has evolved into a London-based artistic collective working within photography, publishing, and events. Founded by Zeinab Saleh, Sara Gulamali and Lamisa Khan in 2017, the collective aims to highlight genuine diversity rather than the usual tokenism that we witness every day. “Our work came out of a need to see ourselves represented authentically in a way that celebrated our identities as young Muslims growing up in London,” they say. 

Inspired by other London-based collectives that merge activism with championing creative talent from marginalised communities – the collective launched its first zine in collaboration with Between Borders – a magazine dedicated to celebrating the diversity of British identities – last year. The special edition zine, created by an all-muslim team of creatives, rejects the prejudice of western narratives projected onto muslim womxn. Instead, packed with dreamy pastel hued close-ups of a diverse cast of women and non-binary people in bold, Euphoria-style makeup, Muslim Sisterhood is shining an intimate, honest lens on what is means to be young and Muslim today.” 

Film Programme

Film: Annelid Archive: Missions and Hymns

Artist : Moza Almazrouei

Running Time: 00:04:09

Artist Bio: Moza Almazrouei is a final year student at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London. Her practice plays with analytical tools of fiction in an attempt to imagine the living conditions and the constraints of certain histories where multiple potentialities could shift it with the contingency of a present and a future, and the certain qualities of a historical event can be animated with time. The basis of her practice is prompted by writings of Avery Gordon and Walid Sadek in understanding the constitutions of counter-histories, and the fictional and non-fictional methodologies that are adapted to resurface forgotten narratives.

She has participated in the exhibition Climavore at Slade, London (2019) and Roundabout at Athr (2021). Moza received a scholarship from the UAE Ministry of Education to complete her studies at the Slade. 

Description of the film: The film documents how colonialism in the UAE reproduces imperial violence to human and non-human communities. The audio is a British Missionary hymn extracted from a national archive. It dissects archival networks in the UAE that move through old channels of colonial power. Whether between institutions or national borders, the film makes evident how colonialism sets precarious conditions within communities that flow between the margins. As an archival turn, I use film as a means to reveal the labor of maintaining the archive and others marginalized by the power of the archive.


Film: 4 star wedding

Artist : Zeinab Saleh

Running Time: 00:04:00

Artist Bio: Zeinab Saleh makes drawings, paintings and occasionally video work. She uses charcoal, acrylic and oil to conjure moments of softness and tenderness. In 2021, Zeinab Saleh had her first solo exhibition at Camden Art Centre. Softest place (on earth) referenced 90’s R&B songs and meditated on moments of tenderness. Her favourite album of all time is The Emancipation of Mimi. Zeinab studied at the Slade School of Fine Art and has also shown work in exhibitions internationally, including at Château Shatto, Los Angeles (2022), Karma International, Switzerland (2021), MAMOTH, London (2020), mother’s tankstation, London (2020) and Barbershop Mixed People, Rotterdam (2019). 

Description of film: 4 star wedding utilises VHS tapes from Saleh’s family archive including her aunties wedding shot in 1997. The VHS home footage was digitalised then combined with new imagery. In 4 star wedding, time travels between 1997 and 2019 playing with ideas of romance and performance. The soundtrack to this video is a song written by Mariah Carey, called The Impossible (2009) from the Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel album.


Film: Staff of Life

Artist: Moza Almatrooshi

Running time: 00:05:21

Artist bio: Moza Almatrooshi (b. Dubai, 1991)  is a UAE based conceptual artist & writer. She obtained an MFA  from the Slade School of Fine Art in London, UK in 2019. Almatrooshi’s practice operates within the study of erased mythology of the Arabian Peninsula, and correlates these myths with the structures that are upheld by the present regional political climate. Moza’s artworks have been performed in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, selected by the ICA London and BBC for the New Creatives project, and displayed in the second Lahore Biennale. Her writings were published in the ArabLit Quarterly, and by the Contemporary Image Collective in Cairo. Moza is a faculty fellow in the Sheikha Salama Emerging Artists Fellowship.

Description of film: In Arabic bread is synonymous with life. Staff of Life is a moving image portrayal of a working day in a bakery that creates their version of Western pastries. The film examines the process of making dough and metaphorises it by drawing comparisons with aspects of human resilience, and the attempts to reach fulfillment and self realisation in harsh conditions. The languages in the film oscillate between Arabic, Farsi, and Urdu – the three languages have a shared history and influence on one another through art, literature, religions, science, violence, and colonisation. The narrators push and pull through their language similarities and variances, and employ their accented melodic tones, champion the poetics of their spoken words, and continue what is being said by one another seamlessly. The Western pastries pose as a standard that is attempted to live up to, while the hands of the bakers guide the narrative forward. From shapeless large volumes that arrive as multitudes of sweet creations, the dough conceals inside it the series of exacting events that lead to its final state.


Film: Foul nu auru

Artist name: Maaria Zuber Hatia 

Running time: 00:04:33 

Artist bio: Maaria Hatia is a photographer born and raised on the south coast, UK. After moving to London for university, Hatia’s work began to shift towards the focus of exploring her Gujrati background and the damaging concept of growing up with a hybrid identity in a predominantly white neighbourhood. 

Description: Focusing on a unique tradition that is practised by Muslim brides in Rander, Gujarat, this documentary follows a family of Hindu florists who have been handcrafting woven flower gowns for generations. In an attempt to explore my own heritage, I decided to use this project to recreate images of my mother in the famous 10kg flower gown, during my parents’ wedding in Rander, 1989. This love letter isn’t just for my parents, but for the traditions within our community that may have slipped away over generations.


Film: Never Never Land

Artist: Arwa Alneami

Running time: 00:09:28 

Artist bio: Arwa Alneami was born in Khamis Mushait, Asir province of Saudi Arabia and raised in King Khalid military airbase. Alneamis work is greatly influenced by her conservative upbringing. In 2005, she received a distinction in a regional art competition under the patronage of HRH Prince Khalid Al Faisal and since then has been part of multiple group shows in Al Miftaha village. She has also taken part in exhibitions at Athr Gallery, Al-Furussia Marina and Art Dubai.

Description: Never Never Land is a series that focuses on the annual funfair in Abha, Saudi Arabia as part of the city’s summer festival that Alneami has been attending and documenting since 2013. This iteration of the project presents a combination of videos that analyze the fair as a culmination point of different aspirational structures within Saudi society through the architectural space and experience of the park itself.


Film: ‘Rakyat Jaga Rakyat’ (2022)

Artist name: Areena Ang

Running time: 00:06:19 

Artist bio: Areena Ang (b. Kuala Lumpur) is a multidisciplinary artist based in London. Interested in the juncture of Malaysian sensibility with Western art history, Ang resists the dominion of style – instead favouring creating a range of registers. They draw from their ‘internet upbringing’ as a form of adolescent identity forming in the Global South, such as Tumblr, American media and sartorial subcultures. Through the language of cartoon and archival imagery, Ang’s compositions are recast into works of autofiction: paintings as diary pages, films as family home videos, installations as palimpsests of the past.

Description of film: ‘Rakyat Jaga Rakyat’ (“the people help the people”) is an experimental split-screen video that emulates the ultimate precious object: a family photo book. Moving from the personal to the wider community, the film illustrates the fast-moving conditions of flash floods and climate change phenomena in Malaysia. It seeks to highlight moments of resilience and collectively of a country that has not only been abandoned by its government, but by the stakeholders of ecological imperialism. Sourcing the artist’s own intimate family photos, ‘netizen’ self-uploaded Youtube vlogs and lo-fi news videos – it ruminates on what is at stake of being lost.


Film/ video work title: 30 Questions with Maria Mahfooz

Artist name: Maria Mahfooz

Running time: 00:02:48

Artist bio: Green screen queen and Princess of Manor Park, Maria Mahfooz’s practice is often autobiographical and guided by her identity as a visible Muslim woman of colour. Works play on othering within the framework of popular culture and the digital realm and interrogates themes of representation, construction of selfhood and the many intersections at play

Description of film: Her 2019 film 30 Questions with Maria Mahfooz is a parody of Vogues’s ’73 questions with..’ series in which the magazine interviews celebrities as they walk around their house. In Mahfooz’s version the artist created a surrogate digital representation of herself situated on the physical streets of Manor Park in London, an act of reframing and restaging tropes as a signifier of her dislocation of identity in a loss of what constitutes as her selfhood. Superficial questions being asked of the artist subtly shift to inquiries regarding racial abuse and embedded prejudice, as well as echoing the duality of her cultural background.


Film: Can you See Me Still?

Artist name: Sara Gulamali

Running time: 00:02:26

Artist bio: Sara Gulamali (1997) is a Canadian based, British, multidisciplinary artist. After graduating from the Fine Art course at Central Saint Martins, Gulamali has spent her practice exploring a post-colonial navigation of the hyper-visibility or invisibility of Muslim women, through the surrogate of the green screen. Gulamali takes inspiration from her family’s diasporic history and its relation to her reflections upon her own identity. Sara also is known for her co-running of the photography collective Muslim Sisterhood, a platform dedicated to celebrating and creating opportunities for Muslim women.

Description of film: Can you See Me Still? Follows a performative use of the green screen, around Kings Cross. The artist uses the green screen as a nomad space, – and as a result becomes a surrogate for the ‘othered’ body. In reference to the position of the artist as a ‘third culture kid. When exploring a private space like Kings Cross, covered up, the relationship between the Muslim body, access, space, and surveillance, all comes into question. As a result, the green becomes an overall signifier for these many different avenues, as it cannot be pinned down to any one idea. It explores the world simply digested as alien.


Film: Dad Dancing

Artist: Maria Mahfooz 

Running time: 00:03:39

Artist bio: Green screen queen and Princess of Manor Park, Maria Mahfooz’s practice is often autobiographical and guided by her identity as a visible Muslim woman of colour. Works play on othering within the framework of popular culture and the digital realm and interrogates themes of representation, construction of selfhood and the many intersections at play.

Description of film: ‘Dad Dancing’ serves as a playful exploration into Mahfooz’s dual identity through the use of the green screen to a backdrop of an imagined desert. A commentary of the spaces she can occupy at once with her background and heritage of an othered British Pakistani within the institution it was filmed at being Central Saint Martins. The dancing is a playful attempt at combining the elements from the cultures she samples and inhabits, and the light hearted nature of her dual identity managing both.


Film: Mother’s Apricot Compote

Artist: Nia Fekri

Running time: 00:23:35

Artist bio: Nia Fekri (b.1997, Tehran) is an Iranian-British artist living and working in London. Nia graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art in 2020.  As a multidisciplinary artist, Nia works in moving-image, writing, bookbinding, and performance. Her work often deals with modes of storytelling and conversation. She is driven by a need to register the fragmentary and ghostly nature of immigrant experiences, familial relationships, memory, and fiction through a lens that is grounded in everyday life. 

Description of film: A fragmentary narrative of two women whose lives are distant from each other yet hold traces of one another. This film conjures the ghosts that hover over the day-to-day lives of these two women; it is a rumination on the experience of the immigrant within and without the diaspora and the ways in which personal/familial memory seeps through the surface of everyday life.


Film: At The Feet of Our Mothers’

Artists: Hafsa Adan, Khaoula Bouharrat, Salam Zaied, Fatima Benjellon, Nurul Aisyah Mohd Sham and Lamisa Khan.

Running time: 00:03:20

Artist bio: Based in North-West London, Khaoula is creative with industry experience in writing, content creation, social media strategy and production. Fatima Benjellon based in Scotland, and of Moroccan heritage. A Fashion Design student at The Glasgow school of Art. She is a creative with industry experience in styling, production and is part of Azeema magazine. Hafsa Adan is an architectural designer, researcher and curator interested in the impact of space on communities. Salam Zaied is a photographer and designer of Guyanese and Palestinian heritage. Nurul Aisyah Mohd Sham is a illustrator and artist currently completing her studies at Kingston University.

Description of film: At the Feet of Our Mothers’ celebrates matriarchal bonds within the umma . Exploring the different journeys and stories of Muslim women, the film touches on community, strength and love. The title refers back to Islamic Hadith, rooted in the status of motherhood within Islam.