Calling Artists for SOMArts Curatorial Residency exhibition The Third Muslim

The Third Muslim

The Third Muslim: Queer and Trans* Muslim Narratives of Resistance and Resilience is a series of curated events and a mixed-media exhibition organized by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Yas Ahmed.

The Third Muslim will debut January 25–February 25, 2018 as part of the Curatorial Residency Program at SOMArts Cultural Center in San Francisco, CA.

ABOUT THE PROJECT: The Third Muslim aims to create a platform from which to promote visibility of artists within the queer and trans* Muslim communities; simultaneously, the project will build an archive of collective and individual stories of queer and trans* Muslims claiming space.

The exhibition portion will purposefully blur lines between fine art and documentary, and objects in the form of photo documentation, articles, ‘zines and social media posts will be displayed alongside work by emerging and established artists who seek to pave the way for their own self-representation. Public events will include live performance, an interactive community dialogue, and participatory art-making.

Because Muslims in general, and queer and trans* Muslims specifically, have been represented by mainstream media on terms not been set by them, often being spoken about, or for, The Third Muslim will emphasize the need for, and value of, self-representation. Participating artists will be invited to submit artwork in all media.


We are looking for 4-6 additional artists whose work investigates the intersections of Islam and queer and/or trans* experience as political, spiritual and/or ideological identities. Nothing about us, without us, is for us. In the U.S., this is truer in the current sociopolitical moment than perhaps ever before. What do themes of resistance and resilience in hostile climates look like, e.g. in the wake of Orlando, the Muslim Bans, state and police violence, hate crimes, and other ways members of our communities are targeted?

We are interested in work that explores the themes of resistance and resilience, via questions like: What might home look like for a queer or trans* Muslim person? What does claiming space mean in 2017? What is our collective history as queer and trans* Muslims? What does desire look like in a body controlled? What does access mean when demanded or denied?

** Please note : The organizers of The Third Muslim recognize that there is overemphasis on Arab, South Asian and cisgender experiences within LGBTQ Muslim communities. There are complex and long-standing historical legacies of resilience among people from experiences and identities traditionally siloed and silenced, and we seek to re/center these voices and stories in creating an archive of LGBTQ Muslim contemporary resistance. The Third Muslim will prioritize submissions from artists whose voices and realities are often rendered invisible within LGBTQ Muslim spaces, with particular consideration given to submissions representing Muslim Black, Latinx, trans* and gender non-conforming experiences, among others.


Artists interested in submitting projects for consideration are asked to apply online here. Please e-mail the curators at with any questions, thoughts or considerations. All inquiries will receive a response within 24–48 hours.


Deadline for Submissions: July 22, 2017

Artist Notification: August 15, 2017

An orientation for confirmed artists will be scheduled based upon availability for September 2017, with subsequent check-ins arranged as needed.

Event details and programming will be announced publicly in October 2017.

Exhibition dates: January 25 through February 25, 2018