NYU Florence was pleased to have presented the exhibition Hajera’s Family by Shahidul Alam in conjunction with the conference The West and Global Muslim Communities: Connecting Through Culture, which took place on campus from 11-13 November, 2015. This conference examined cultural connections in a specific contemporary context — the pressing need of Western societies and global Muslim communities to comprehend each other and communicate to each other. The conference identified ideas for increasing and improving the ways this work can be done. The discussion built on the findings of an earlier meeting of practitioners in this work, “U.S. Cultural Engagement with Global Muslim Communities” held at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in the fall of 2013.

 

 

Selected Images from Hajera's Family

And yet she smiles. Gang raped numerous times as a child. Forced into pick pocketing. Caned till she was unconscious. Sold to a madame. Hajera Begum’s life has little that would give cause to smile. Yet she smiles. She cries too. Not because of the gang rapes, or the beating, or the many years she lives in the streets as a rag picker, but when she remembers that a man who worked in an NGO, refused to work in her team because she was a sex worker.

View the full exhibition on Shahidul Alam's Flickr page.