Jamila El Sahili, a Lebanese born, German raised, Muslim artist and activist living in New York City is part of the biggest public art project in the history of the U.S. 150 artists nation wide created billboard for ForFreedoms 50 State Initiative. Jamila’s “Human Being” billboard, written in Arabic with no translation offered is up in Lansing, Michigan and has been sparking conversation in the community. All the billboards will be up until Nov. 6 when the election takes place. The placement of the Arabic “Human Being” billboard is intentional. Michigan is where the first Muslim woman, Rashida Tlaib, could be elected to congress in a couple of days. A historic moment!
After the new administration took over over a year ago, Jamila launched her Human Being T-Shirt campaign, an opportunity for Muslims and our allies to show the world that we are not afraid to be our authentic self, Arabic included! The shirts were a part of the I Am A Muslim Too rally in New York City last year.
Jamila’s art career started 5 years ago with her project Foreign Postcards, in which she launched to promote the beauty of the Arabic language. Citizens of the world (yup, not limited to the U.S.) receive a free handwritten postcard with their name in Arabic. All she asks for in return are creative pictures with people holding their postcards. The results are heartwarming, funny, sad, and unique.
Her overarching goal is to remind people that we are all unique individuals that can not be labeled based on heritage, language, culture, or any other exterior influences. We are all Human Beings.