Sophia Ahmed Sattar in the Ramp Gallery, March 17–April 13, 2015

Arabic calligraphy in all its aesthetic and linguistic complexity is little understood in the West, and often regarded as an art form belonging to the classic Islamic arts, therefore, the past. Sophia Ahmed Sattar’s idea is to explore the long history of using calligraphy as ornamentation, in Islamic art. She has taken this concept further by merging her western education with her religious and cultural sensibility. Her paintings communicate abstract interplay of color, transparency and value, exploring calligraphic line, form and shape. It encourages the viewer to see American-Muslim culture in an admirable way. Her paintings are an amalgamation of East and West, classic with contemporary, bridging the gap between two cultures, visually and culturally.

Listen to the artist talk about this work in her own words:

Sophia explores the creative possibility of calligraphy. She uses calligraphy as shapes, rather than letters or words. The calligraphy is not meant to be read, but enjoyed. Keeping them as a dominant element in her paintings, written words give the impression of random brushstrokes while patterns or single letters develop into decorative loops.

The purpose of Sophia’s art is to bring people together. To open dialogue about her culture and community with the western world and engage society to explore the well integrated, hybrid Muslim identity in America. Her art, serves as a contemporary extension of this traditional art form, and references a multitude of issues —religious, social, political and personal. Her deep concern is to change the negative stereotype that inundates Americans-Muslims.

About Sophia Sattar
In 1995 in a politically unstable Karachi, Pakistan, Sophia Sattar was a young student pursuing her BFA in painting and a minor in printmaking at the Indus Vallery School of Art and Architecture. As violence increased she decided to leave the country to take her art career elsewhere. Since then, Sophia has been featured in the Herald and Extra magazine and in numerous newspapers in Pakistan by renowned art critic, Marjorie Hussain.

Her marriage brought her to America, and after 10 years of a blissful life as a mother of three, she took up her MFA at the Academy of Art University, San Francisco. Followed by her first solo exhibition at the Atelier Gallery in San Francisco in May, 2013, an almost sold out show, she was awarded an Emerging Artist award. This landed her a feature in the American Art Collectors and Islamic Art magazine the same year.

She is the force behind the Annual Muslim Artists Night in the San Ramon local Islamic center. She has been an ambassador of Muslimah: Art and Voices at the International Museum of Women, San Francisco. She teaches art at the Danville community center, has published in the Stanford Journal of Asian-American Studies, 2014 and has been covered by KALW, “cross-currents”, a local radio station, in Oakland. She continues to bring goodwill between her culture and the West.

For more information please visit

Sophia Ahmed Sattar’s show is part of the 18th annual United States of Asian America Festival (USAAF). ‘Sparkling Light’, 2015. This year her show is being supported by the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center (APICC). 


About The Ramp Gallery
The Ramp Gallery accepts exhibition proposals on a continual basis. Submission Guidelines can be found here. To purchase work on display or for more information email You can visit The Ramp gallery any time SOMArts Cultural Center is open.

Pictured Above, “Alphabet Twin,” by Sophia Sattar 2012