Tazeen Zahida’s Favorite Creators of 2023

At the start of a new year, Fann reflects on the Muslim creators and art that defined 2023.

Tazeen Zahida’s Favorite Creators of 2023

As 2023 comes to a close, Fann is reflecting on the Muslim creators and art that defined the year. It’s been a remarkable year for Muslim creatives: the first Muslim American rom-com made by Muslim American women saw its worldwide release; a musical inspired by a Bollywood classic captivated U.S. audiences; an action movie starring Muslim sisters broke barriers; creative communities came together to support each other through unprecedented hardship. From music to books to art to television to podcasts to everything in between, Muslims have been defining art and pop culture in 2023.

To get the best view of the year possible, Fann reached out to industry experts, asking them about the trailblazers and notable projects in their respective creative fields. These experts were asked not to limit themselves to works that came out this year, instead focusing on any art that defined 2023 for them.

In the words of industry leaders, these are the Muslim creators and art that made 2023 memorable.

Fann’s End-of-Year Wrap-Up is an ongoing series celebrating the end of 2023. Answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Who are you?

Tazeen Zahida, a playwright who spearheads Houston’s only South Asian theater company, Tee Zee Productions.

Who is one fellow Muslim creator in your industry who you admired this year?

Kareem Fahmy.

Tell us more about why you like the creator above.

I have not had the good fortune of meeting Kareem Fahmy but I have been following his journey as a Muslim playwright, and I can say with much confidence that he is a trailblazer in his own right. He has been taking up subjects that generally Muslim creators are uncomfortable writing about. I absolutely loved his idea of “American Fast.” I wish I could read his scripts, watch his plays and one day get his advice on my work.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Kareem Fahmy (@thekareemfahmy)

What is one piece of work related to Muslim characters and/or creators within your industry that you enjoyed this year?

“American Fast” by Kareem Fahmy.

Tell us more about why you like the work above.

The sheer subject of a Muslim girl, wanting to play on her high school basketball team and skip the mandatory Ramadan fasting, secretly opposing her mother's instructions holds a great deal of dramatic substance.

Any other Muslim art you enjoyed this year?

I thoroughly enjoyed the work of the visual artist family of AQ Arif, Mussarat Arif and Zaam Arif. They are one-of-a-kind family of artists, creating original artwork from a point of Muslim identity.

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A post shared by aq.arif ( visual artist ) (@aqarifartistofficial)

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