“Islamic Inspired” Art Exhibit Now Open in Milwaukee Muslim-Owned Art Gallery

Earlier this month, NAdiaNa Art Gallery opened an exhibit titled “Islamic Inspired,” which features works from both Muslims and non-Muslims. Gallery owner Nadia Alkhun describes Islamic work as having specific, intricate characteristics like calligraphy, flowers and plants, and geometric detail.

“Islamic Inspired” Art Exhibit Now Open in Milwaukee Muslim-Owned Art Gallery
A preview of the art for NAdiaNA Art Gallery's "Islamic Inspired" gallery show. Photo credit: Molly Snyder

Nadia Alkhun is a Wisconsin-based genetic engineer, biotechnologist and professional artist. As of this year she’s also a gallery owner. 

NAdiaNA Art Gallery, which Alkhun opened with her husband in March of this year, serves as a creative haven for original artwork crafted by Alkhun and a diverse array of other talents. Nestled in the heart of bustling downtown Milwaukee, NAdiaNA Art Gallery offers the community a space to congregate and celebrate all forms of creativity.

Early last month, NAdiaNa Art Gallery opened an exhibit titled “Islamic Inspired.” The exhibit features works from both Muslims and non-Muslims. Alkhun describes Islamic work as having specific, intricate characteristics like calligraphy, flowers and plants, and geometric detail.

"‘Islamic Inspired’ is kind of a general term,” Alkhun told her local news station in Milwaukee, TMJ4. “I tried to use the ‘inspire’ word on it to have artists who are not Muslim also submit for this exhibit. Having so many artists from different backgrounds submitting to this exhibit is great, and it's one of the main ideas of the gallery itself. I want to have a space for diversity; to be included. It's a space for love."

The show highlights the art pieces created by seven visual artists, and some of the artwork showcased is available for purchase. According to the Wisconsin Muslim Journal, 10 percent of the gallery’s portion of sales will be set aside for donation to the Islamic Society of Milwaukee (ISM).

Alkhun is excited for this exhibit to feature work from Muslims and non-Muslims alike. “The artwork intertwines cultural and religious values with a contemporary touch,” she told the Wisconsin Muslim Journal. “It embraces diversity, inclusion, curiosity, intellect and love … It brings together people from different backgrounds in one space to connect through a universal language: art.” 

For Alkhun, the show connects her identities as Muslim woman and professional artist. “I love that I can be myself as a Muslim woman and run my art gallery and display my artwork and the artwork of people regardless of their backgrounds or identity,” she says. “I operate in a welcoming place. I connect with the community while proud to be a Muslim woman … I carry a beautiful message about Islam, a religion of creativity, strength, inclusion, open dialogue and mercy.”

Later, in her conversation with TMJ4, Alkhun said, “I am a strong, independent [woman] who can run a gallery. I don't want my hijab to be something that discourages me; I'm empowered by my hijab."

Despite her new gallery ownership, Alkhun has not lost sight of her roots as a creator. While she holds a degree in biotechnology and genetic engineering from Jordan University of Science and Technology, Alkhun says that her background in science influences her art. When speaking of her current artwork, Alkhun says she “aims to capture the hidden chaos in delicate details to communicate [her] vision of the real world through biology. [Her] paintings take the form of imagined abstraction of new biospheres that reflect the complexity and connectivity of our lives” (via NAdiaNA Art Gallery, “About the Artist”). 

NAdiaNa Art Gallery’s “Islamic Inspired” exhibit runs through Oct. 21st. For more information or to catch the show, visit the gallery website here.