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Art in the Heartland 2013: Celebrating Oklahoma’s Diversity

November 20, 2013 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

WHEN: November 20, 2013
WHERE: Will Rogers Theater, 4322 N. Western Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73118
* Parking is on the East side of Will Rogers Theater
TIME: 7 – 9 PM

Art in the Heartland celebrates arts and creativity in Oklahoma while capturing unique experiences in the Heartland. The series provides an avenue for all Oklahomans to come together, and to recognize and appreciate the diverse influences in our state.

FEATURED ARTISTS FOR 2013 (new artists announced each weekly leading up to event)

Ali & Danielle Soltani

alianddaniellefeaturedartistWith over twelve years of experience, Ali is a seasoned global performer on violin, viola, and oud. Having graduated Summa Cum Laude as a member of the Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society from Oklahoma City University with a degree in Violin Performance, he was runner-up in multiple regional concerto competitions and winner of the 2012 OCU Concerto Competition and named to the Honors Recital. He uses his musical talents to teach students of all ages and perform a blend of traditional Middle-Eastern, classical, and modern music rare among musicians today.

As a recent graduate of Oklahoma City University, Danielle majored in music composition with piano as her major instrument. She is currently the Revelation Youth Choir director at Church of the Servant in Oklahoma City. Teaching composition and piano since 2007, she has a passion for sharing her knowledge and experience with her students. As a composer, she has written for the Quartz Mountain Institute and is currently working on projects for Oklahoma City’s El Sistema program as well as for the Oklahoma branch of CAIR, a civil rights advocacy group.

Iman Abdallat

imanabdallatfeaturedartistIman Aballat was born in Amman, Jordan, and moved to Oklahoma with her family when she was 10 years old. Abdallat attended Oklahoma City’s only full-time Islamic school, Mercy School, and then graduated from Dove Science Academy High School. She later attended the University of Oklahoma where she graduated with a degree in International Studies and Arabic. Abdallat’s parents have always encouraged her to explore her interests growing up which have included sports, writing, and creative arts. Artistic expression has been her primary hobby since childhood, and she was featured in several high school art shows. Abdallat has created and sold paintings in support of various causes including the famine in Somalia and violence in Gaza, donating all the profits to charity. The mediums with which she works include pencil, acrylic paints, and water color. She always tries to challenge herself by trying new artistic forms and techniques, most recently working with ink calligraphy, Chinese brush painting, and Turkish marbling. Abdallat sees art as a means of self-expression and a manner in which she can not only show the world who she is, but also represent the manner in which Muslims can intertwine the beauty of faith with creative artistic expression.

Isra Cheema

isracheemafeaturedartistIsra Cheema is a Pakistani-American Muslim who was born and raised in Oklahoma. She attended Mercy School Institute, the local Islamic school in Edmond, from a very young age and graduated this past May. She currently attends the University of Central Oklahoma pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Biology. She aspires to attend Optometry school after college. Cheema learned to love art from a very young age. Her mother, an artist and an art teacher, instilled this love in her until it blossomed. Now, Cheema loves all genres of art: painting, sketching, cooking, photography, and even writing fiction. Her paintings include landscapes and different styles of Arabic calligraphy to convey her love of her religion, Islam. To her, art isn’t just a hobby – it’s a form of expression. How people perceive the world and it’s wonders in their own way inspires others to express themselves in a creative and unique style. And that’s just where her love for art comes from: inspiration. Cheema hopes that her paintings convey a message from her Muslim beliefs and inspire people of all religions.

Khalid Alzubi

khalidalzbuifeaturedartistKhalid Alzubi was born in Amman, Jordan and raised in Oklahoma City where he attended Mercy School, OKC’s only full-time Islamic school. Alzubi graduated from Piedmont high school prior to obtaining a Bachelor’s of Scient in Microbiology from the University of Oklahoma. As a student at OU, Alzubi was an active member of the university’s Muslim Student Association on campus. He currently is a full-time student of dentisty at OU’s Health Science Center.

Alzubi began writing poetry two years ago and his poetic expressions aim at reaching the hearts of Muslim youth. The focus of his poetry is bringing to light the challenges Muslim youth face in Oklahoma and in America, and he hopes to inspire individuals to become better people through his poetry. Alzubi’s poetry has had thousands of hits on YouTube, and most recently he has started a YouTube show entitled, “It’s Khalid!” as a means to educate about Muslim and Arab culture.

Layan Salous

layansalousfeaturedartistLayan Salous is a Southern born Palestinian-American photographer and student. She is a charismatic competitor and a creative junkie with a love for arts spanning from baking to painting. Photography has been her passion for more than five years. With no professional training, Salous has gained all her skills through experience. She was first exposed to the art by her father when she was only 11 years old and has been hooked ever since. Salous is known to friends and family as never being without a camera in her hands and a smile on her face. Focusing on portraiture and scenery as well as events, Salous strives to incorporate the aesthetic quality of art unique to the South in her work, focusing on the red-dirt culture that drives her home state of Oklahoma. Salous envisions the world as a vast opportunity to help any and all in reaching their dreams. She hopes of assisting other Muslim youth in their artistic endeavors, to encourage the growing Muslim community in standing out and using their talents to make a change.

Moh Aboubead

mohaboubeadifeaturedartistMohammad (Moh) Aboubead is of Palestinian origin born in Kuwait and raised in Jordan and Oklahoma. He attended Putnam City high school and graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in marketing. Aboubead enjoys arts, film, and design and developed a hobby for photography and film at the tender age of 13 years old. He specializes in fashion and editorial photography and enjoys incorporating abstract and psychedelic themes into projects. In addition to his passion for photography, Aboubead enjoys the challenges of graphics design and branding and has collaborated with many local businesses in Oklahoma. He is a big supporter of local art, design, and music and an admirer of Arabic calligraphy and Islamic architectural design. Aboubead won 3rd place in nationals and 2nd place in state for Business Professionals of America film competition in 2007 and 2008.

Sadaf Irshad

sadafirshadrfeaturedartist2Sadaf Irshad was born in Pakistan and moved to Oklahoma with her family at a young age. She attended elementary to middle school in Oklahoma and moved back to Pakistan for a couple of years. While in Pakistan she was home-school as a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Independent Study High School. Irshad returned to Edmond, Oklahoma for college and completed an undergraduate degree from the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) in Early Childhood Education with a minor in Creative Writing. After graduation, she was an instructor of Islamic Studies for a semester at Mercy School and currently, Irhsad, is pursuing her Graduate Degree from UCO in Bilingual Education/Teaching English as a Second Language.

Irshad enjoys writing poetry, art, and volunteer work. She has always had an interest in writing and started writing poetry when she was 10. Her poetry ranges in topics such as love, family, Islam, Pakistan, nature, Oklahoma, and more. Irshad hope to represent her faith through all the work she does and make a difference in the world. Irshad encourage everyone to follow their heart and make a positive change in the world.

Sireene Khader

sireenekhaderfeaturedartistSireene Khader is a Palestinian-American Muslim born and raised Okie style. She has a variety of hobbies from sports to art. Her love for painting began in her elementary years, when Khader’s mother began to encourage her to do art, and as she grew older and was exposed to an eclectic variety of genres in art, she mainly grasped the love for sketching and Do-It-Yourself arts. For Khader, art is the way she expresses herself, whether it be her thoughts, culture, or favorite team, the OKC Thunder. When a person views her pieces of art, one will be able to recognize her character and personality. It is Khader’s hope that the world realizes that art is a universal language with a single piece of art having a deep meaning without anyone having to say a word. Art is the way Khader hopes Muslim youth and other youth, as well, learn to express their thoughts and culture.

Sister Hughmerdes

Sister Hughmerdes studied fashion design, wood art, and ceramics in California; ceramics, jewelry making, and wood art in Arizona; and ceramics and fiber art in Michigan. The majority of Sister Hughmerdes’ artwork produced are inspired by her faith, devotion, and desire to communicate her love of faith through artist expression. These artworks are inspired by lost tradition of the Aboriginal Asiatic African Americans that are ‘reclaiming their own’ here in the West.

Sumera Shahzad

sumerashehzadfeaturedartistFrom Pakistan, growing up in the cosmopolitan city of Karachi, Sumera Shehzad has always been inspired by the different cultures that thrive there. Nature is one of her biggest inspirations, and combining both Quranic verses along with enchanting colors is how she likes to express her creativity. Shehzad has always been interested in different forms of art, including oil painting, however, pen and ink are her favorites, and abstract expression and still lifes are her specialties. Spending time with colors brings Shehzad peace. With much encouraging support, Shehzad’s teachers’ belief in her abilities helped her excel and recognize her talents. Aside from painting, Sumera loves to sew and tackle “do it yourself” organizing projects reusing old things. Homeschooling, travelling and meeting new people is how the Shehzad family moves along. Oklahoma is still pretty new to Sumera, but it is definitely providing her with different opportunities and she is loving it!

Tehmina Cheema

tehminacheemafeaturedartistBorn and raised in the U.S., Tehmina Cheema displayed an elevated interest in the arts at an early age. Demonstrating creative excellence, she entered city and state-wide visual art contests. She went on to receive a prestigious Art Merit award given only to one student of each graduating class. Cheema then married and moved to Oklahoma and had five children. Currently, she is the Art Teacher at Mercy School Institute, an accredited A+ recognized private Islamic School in Edmond, Oklahoma. Teaching students about various styles of art, including Arabic calligraphy has been the opportunity of a lifetime, as it fuses Cheema’s two passions: religion and art. This is Cheema’s third consecutive year in the Art in the Heartland series and it has been an honor for her. Using art as a universal medium, it is Cheema’s hope that she will be able to enlighten people about the religion of Islam and thus bridge the gap of cultural and religious understanding.



November 20, 2013
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm


Will Rogers Theater
4322 N. Western Ave
Oklahoma City, OK 73118 United States
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