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New Exhibition at Islamic Museum highlights voices of Victorian Muslims

The Islamic Museum of Australia will be presenting the untold testimonies of over 50 Victorian Muslims through a documentary-style exhibition and online gallery.

Titled Missing Voices, the exhibition will feature photographs, video interviews, musings and paintings, exploring tropes of belonging, Islamophobia, tolerance and resilience which pervade the everyday lives of Muslims in Australia.

Opening on 15 April, the date falls within the early days of Ramadan; the most sacred month in the Islamic calendar.

Islamic Museum of Australia Curator, Dr Mahmoud Mohammed said the Museum is humbled by the participants’ generosity in sharing stories.

“One participant shared with us that prior to coming to Australia, she was not allowed to fast during Ramadan in her home country. For her, coming to Australia meant having the freedom to practice her religion – that includes fasting during Ramadan – one of the pillars of the Islamic faith,” said Dr Mohammed.

Another musing from a participant describes how her great-grandmother was branded a ‘human shuttlecock’ for wearing a burqa upon her arrival into Western Australia in the early twentieth century. Another story from a ninety-four year old recalls the scarcity of olive oil in Australia, instead having to bulk purchase tiny bottles from a pharmacy intended for moisturising babies.

Islamic Museum of Australia Founder and Director Moustafa Fahour OAM said the exhibition offered a unique opportunity to share lived experiences of Victorian Muslims.

“The exhibition will stir the emotions of all individuals who read or hear the musings.  For some, it will evoke memories from their own migration stories or individual journeys in navigating identity. For others, the stories will offer a unique insight into the experience of Muslims, some are confronting, others are uplifting or even amusing, but each story has been told with candour,” said Mr Fahour.

Among the work on display as part of Missing Voices, are eight portraits by the late Ethiopian born Melbourne-based artist, Tamirat Gebremariam, who sadly passed away in June 2020.

The Museum has become a meeting point for diverse cultural, social and interfaith groups, and a locus for learning and dialogue between these congregates. Through this exhibition, the Museum aims to create and share positive narratives about Muslims, celebrate their contributions to society, and strengthen a sense of belonging, pride and accomplishment within the community.

Missing Voices is on display at the Islamic Museum of Australia and online at islamicmuseum.org.au from 15 April – 16 July 2021.The Islamic Museum of Australia is located in Thornbury, in Melbourne’s north. It is the only Islamic museum in the country and provides educational and cross-cultural experiences for all ages. The Museum is open Monday – Saturday 10am – 4pm.

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