Fall Exhibitions / LA/Islam Arts Initiative

Return of the Mecca: The Art of Islam and Hip-Hop

Return of the Mecca: The Art of Islam and Hip-Hop LAISLAM_LogoWeb_colorCurated by Sohail Daulatzai

#laislamarts    #returnofthemecca

For images and more information, also visit returnofthemecca.com

Exhibition Dates:  October 4 to November 22, 2014

Exhibition Times:  Tuesday to Saturday, 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Opening Reception: Saturday, October 4, 2014, 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.     

Dialogue: Saturday, October 11, 2014, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.                                                                                   Hip-hop’s role – both past and present – in struggles for social justice with guests Rosa Clemente and Chuck D  (Dialogue will begin promptly at 2:00 p.m.)

This exhibition is part of the LA/Islam Arts Initiative, a citywide cultural celebration and programs hosted by the City of of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation from September -December 2014.

Return of the Mecca: The Art of Islam and Hip-Hop showcases how the vibrant history of hip-hop culture was deeply influenced by its relationship to Islam.

Jay Electronica and Nas – Photo by Cognito for FROLAB/Culture Capture Champ

Rakim. Public Enemy. A Tribe Called Quest. The Roots. Ice Cube.The Wu Tang Clan. Mos Def. Lupe Fiasco. These are some of hip-hop’s most significant and influential artists. But very few know that these artists, like so many others, identify as Muslim and are connected to the larger world of Islam. Guided by figures such as Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali, hip-hop culture was dominated by its relationship to Islam. From the foundation of Zulu Nation in the early 1970’s, to the “Golden Age” of hip-hop (1986-1995), and onto the present, Return of the Mecca will showcase these histories through film, video, sound, photography, album cover art, and other media. From the earliest slaves to street corner orators…Black Arts to the world of sport…the prison house to the political platform…and jazz to hip-hop, Black Muslims forged an alternative Black consciousness that imagined themselves not as a national minority, but as part of a global majority.

Sohail Daulatzai is the co-editor of Born to Use Mics, a literary remix of Nas’s album Illmatic and is the author of Black Star, Crescent Moon: The Muslim International and Black Freedom beyond America. He has written liner for the 2012 release of the 20th Anniversary Deluxe Box Set of Rage Against the Machine’s self titled debut album, the liner notes for the DVD release of Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme and the centerpiece in the museum catalog Movement: Hip-Hop in L.A., 1980’s – Now. He is the founder of Razor Step, a Los Angeles based media lab, and he teaches in the Department of Film and Media Studies at the University of California, Irvine.

About the LA/Islam Arts Initiative

The Los Angeles / Islam Arts Initiative (LA/IAI) brings together nearly 30 cultural institutions throughout Los Angeles to tell various stories of traditional and contemporary art from multiple Islamic regions and their significant global diasporas. LA/IAI is the first-of-its kind, wide-scale citywide initiative on Islamic arts producing and presenting programming such as art exhibitions, panels, discussions, and performances. Anchoring LA/IAI are two connected exhibitions, Doris Duke’s Shangri La: Architecture, Landscape, and Islamic Art and the contemporary art exhibition, Shangri La: Imagined Cities commissioned by the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) to be held at DCA’s Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (LAMAG) at Barnsdall Park from October 26 to December 28, 2014.

Los Angeles’ substantial populations from areas with strong Islamic roots make LA a compelling location for this initiative. LA/IAI casts a wide net, being inclusive and welcoming, with art as its central focus. The term “Islamic art” includes work created by non-Muslim artists from Muslim-dominant countries, work by Muslims creating art in non-Muslim dominant countries, and work by artists culturally influenced by Islam. Designed to build a greater understanding of the role of Islamic arts, LA/IAI seeks to stimulate the global conversation in connection to cultural, political, and social issues.

The LA / Islam Arts Initiative is presented by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) with major support from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Community Foundation, the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), and the Barnsdall Art Park Foundation.