5 Muslim Artists That Were Finally Recognized in 2016

In 2016, many might acknowledge this year as the year of on going terror attacks, political turbulences and a list of many other things that could lead muslims to be generalized or stereotyped. Let’s shift our site to muslim artists who were recognized in 2016, for having victoriously thrived in their accomplishments and proving to the world that muslims are more than just categories and labels.

Akram Abo Alfoz 

Remember Akram Abo Alfoz?

The Syrian Artist whose former job was a glass painter before the civil war broke out, now paints on the deadly bomb debris, bullet capsules that caused the death and injuries of his relatives and  many others in the regime besieged Douma of Syria and his objective behind painting on war weapons was to lessen down his children’s fear of such weapons. His second motive was to deliver a message that the people of his nation, Syria, are people of peace, unlike what the regime has claimed.  He turns weapon debris such as these :

into these

and refers to the masterpieces as “ painting on death”.

Anniesa Hasibuan

How can anyone forget the time Islamic headscarfs shimmered in the spotlight of the New York fashion week?  Thanks to Anniesa Hasibuan, Indonesian fashion designer AKA the first designer to boast off her modest clothing collection in NYFW 2016. Her runway show displayed tunics in pastel pink and pale golds, with a touch of metallic embroidery.

Her spring -summer collection was said to be inspired from by her hometown, Jakarta.

There was once a time when covered women were abandoned by the fashion industry but a Designer like Anniesa Hasibuan has accomplished to prove that  hair-covering or Hijab towards women is more than the oppressive labels that society puts on, but rather an empowering feminist statement. Here is to another win towards modest fashion!

Shamsia Hassani

One of the many muslim artists trying to breakdown stereotypes is a professor of Fine Arts at Kabul University in Afghanistan, Shamsia Hassani. With a can of spray paint, she used city walls as her canvas. Hassani claims that she can paint her sparks of hope into war torn Kabul. Hassani claims that “People think that women in burqas are (powerless) and uneducated, without ideas of their own. They think it is a limitation.” Hassani paints images of women wearing the burqa in public spaces of Kabul, due to the reason of wanting to color over the bad memories of war. Hassani paints her subjects as women covered in hijab or niqab, but in vibrant colors. Her subjects displays dynamic and strong figures, which illustrates the Afghanistan that is far from the Taliban stereotypes.

Abu Malik al-Shami

While there are numerous artists who have emerged over the course of the Syrian conflict, one has excelled in capturing the attention and imagination of onlookers from both inside Syria and around the world: Abu Malek al-Shami, who is better known as The Syrian Banksy due to his insightful street art that has been likened to the legend that his moniker derives from. He is the 22 year old that has left a trail of incisive works that have added a little colour to Syria’s war ruins. Having begun his life in Syria’s revolution as a peaceful protester in 2011, by early 2013 he had joined the Free Syrian Army. In 2014, he painted his first mural in the Damascus suburb of Darayya that was under a crushing siege at the time. His first work featured a young girl teaching a seated soldier about love by way of her blackboard.


2016 was the year of Yuna, A Malaysian singer. She took the chance to grow her career in the USA  with a collab Usher and she now resides in Los Angeles. But she also sang the soundtrack for the Olympic 2016, Rio global promo campaign. We hope to see more of her in 2017.

Written by Ananda Siregar

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19 years old. Born in Indonesia's capital Jakarta, Dubai bred ,currently studying communication design in Bahçeşehir university in Istanbul. Third culture kid. Always enthusiatic and filled with energy. Aspires to bring positive changes within young people. Interested in political and religious affairs. Enviromental concern, arts and culture, history, non-profit orignization volunteering , writing and traveling .