Faces of diversity

Today Muslims the world over are observing Eid al-Adha, which commemorates Abraham’s selfless devotion to God. Valley mosques are hosting special morning prayers, and local Muslims will be gathering with family and friends to celebrate at Encanto Park, Castles N’ Coasters and other child-friendly venues.

The occasion got me thinking a bit more about Islamic arts and culture. I’ve long admired the architecture of the mosque in Tempe located near the little theater that was once home to Childsplay. It’s right next to Salam’s Market & Deli – where I sometimes join my daughter Jennifer, a cultural anthroplogy major at ASU, for lunch.

I’m looking forward to exploring the Metropolitan Museum of Art next time I’m in New York City visiting my other daughter Lizabeth, an acting major at Pace University. The museum recently opened fifteen new galleries, which now house more than 1,000 items from its extensive collection of Islamic art.

During my last trip to NYC, I viewed an exhibit titled “NYChildren,” which runs through Dec. 21. It features “a salon-style presentation of over 160 beautiful color portraits of children.” Each hails from a different country, and each lives in NYC.

The exhibit is located at Park51 Community Center, a site some of the more fearful among us once dubbed “the mosque at Ground Zero.” It sits on the same unassuming street as the Amish Market and The Anne Frank Center USA. Visitors pass a small room filled with prayer rugs as they enter the exhibit, but otherwise it looks like any other gallery space.

The following photos include a couple I took that day, plus three sent to me by the center. Each photograph in the exhibit is the work of artist Danny Goldfield, who shares that NYChildren “was inspired by the idea that the better we know our neighbors, the more open and healthy our lives become.”

Park51 Community Center in New York City

One portion of the NYChildren exhibit at Park51 in New York City

Danny Goldfield photograph of an NYC child from Afganistan

Danny Goldfield photograph of an NYC child from Ireland

Danny Goldfield photo of an NYC child from Mali

Every culture gives us children, and children are the future. Love them, cherish them, respect them and appreciate them.

– Lynn

Note: Click here to enjoy the faces and artwork of children closer to home. Click here to learn about a companion book to the NYChildren exhibit.

Coming up: Anne Frank exhibit returns to Arizona

Update: The Islamic Center of Tucson has rescheduled its Eid Al-Adha picnic due to anticipated poor weather. It’s now scheduled to take place Sun, Nov. 20 from 1-5pm at McCormick Park in Tucson.

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