Crushing on: The AjA Project’s Collective Voices Program

Crushing on: The AjA Project’s Collective Voices Program

Young Muslim women from City Heights in San Diego, California use the arts to tackle topics of identity, representation, and dual-consciousness in their installation entitled: “Navigating the Map of Our Selfhood”

Participants from The AjA Project, a City-Heights-based nonprofit (funded by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art), exhibited a large-scale public art piece this month at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park.

The installation, entitled Navigating the Map of Our Selfhood, was the culminating project of AjA’s Collective Voices program, a participatory photography program involving young Muslim women from City Heights. For the past year, participants of Collective Voices have used photography to explore themes of representation, identity, and culture through workshops in conjunction with The AjA Project and The United Women of East Africa.

This final installation was intended to serve as a platform to ignite public dialogue around some of the most important and contested issues in contemporary culture around the world – the refugee crisis, islamophobia, and women’s rights.

“We have a need for the world to visualize and empathize with our point of view.”

In the words of the Collective Voices participants, “The mission of Collective Voices is to express the pride we have in ourselves in order to provide young girls, who are often not heard, with a voice. This installation recognizes the beauty in our struggle and who we are as East African American young Muslim women from San Diego. We have a need for the world to visualize and empathize with our point of view. Navigating the Map of Our Selfhood formally acknowledges the contradicting multiple consciousness of our experience. Our goal is to reach out to the community to educate and eliminate misconceptions some may have about us as female Muslims. This is an artistic work of individuals collectively navigating the reality of various identities.”

To find out more visit: // @collectivevoices