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Art in the Heartland OKC 2012

November 14, 2012 @ 8:00 am - 4:00 pm

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


Ali Soltani

Ali Soltani playing the OudAli Soltani, of Edmond, Oklahoma is a seasoned performer on violin, viola, and oud. Having a diverse musical background, Soltani has already performed on stage with various artists and orchestras. Using his unique talents and understanding of the oud, he has combined eastern and western music into an exciting and unusual blend in various settings, classical and non-classical.

“There are not many prominant Muslims in the classical art world, especially in Oklahoma,” said Ali Soltani “To be able to make the connections and have the opportunities I have had over the years, has been a blessing. I make it an obligation to communicate to others through my art form that the message of Islam is peace, and there is a common desire amongst individuals of all walks of life to gravitate towards peace.”

Nadia Martinez

Nadia MartinezNadia Martinez is an American-born Muslim of American and Palestinian descent. With only a few photography classes under her belt, Nadia is primarily a self-taught artist and photographer. Her artwork celebrates and brings together the joys, hopes, and beauty of her home, Oklahoma, and her religion, Islam.

An Oklahoma for the majority of her life, Nadia draws inspiration from the state’s unique features, such as its infamous red dirt and variant weather. Nadia appreciates Oklahoma’s unconventional beauty and tries to capture it through her lens.

Nadia’s Muslim identity also strongly influences her artwork. The complex American-Muslim culture she has been a part of continuously fascinates Nadia. She enjoys capturing the innocence and carefree nature of Muslim children, and also tries to break stereotypes through her work. In this time when so many misunderstandings exist, she feels it is important to focus on the truth and beauty of this peaceful religion, and to show the diversity of its followers through the diversity of her work.

Salwa Elyazgi

salwaelyazgiSalwa Elyazgi started developing an interest in art when she was in high school. She took a painting class and began to enjoy it so much to the point that she started skipping lunch to spend time in the art room. She has always had an interest in art that speaks to a wide variety of people, focusing on paintings that may not necessarily mean something specific, but express a certain feeling based on each individual. She has always loved doing silhouettes for the fact that when someone looks at it they don’t judge the person in the painting, rather they start seeing the beauty within. Elyazgi’s goal and passion as an artist, is to represent diversity, love and the right to be who you are. As she continue my journey, Elyazgi hope to grow as a person and improve her artistic skills in providing beauty in all her artwork.

Tehmina Cheema

tehmina_art_editBorn and raised in the U.S., Tehmina Jabeen Cheema displayed an elevated interest in the arts at an early age. Demonstrating creative excellence, she was encouraged to enter city and statewide 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 Visiting Art Teacher at Mercy School, an A+ recognized Oklahoma private Islamic School. Teaching students about various Islamic styles of art, including Arabic calligraphy has been the opportunity of a lifetime, as it fuses Cheema’s two passions: religion and art.

Layan Salous

layansalouspolLayan 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.

Sarah Firdaus

sarahfirdauseditSarah Firdaus is a Master’s student at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Photography and more recently, ceramics are her primary hobbies. Firdaus finds it a nice balance to the more stressful academic part of her
life. Photography, is her way of expressing her creativity through honest, fun, and artistic imagery.

People and landscapes are Firdaus’s favorite subjects because she loves being able to help capture special moments in people’s lives. She believes the Earth is beautiful and sometimes it takes an image for an individual to realize just how magnificent God’s creation truly is. It is Firdaus’s hope that her photography will inspire others to express themselves as well as take the time to pause during their busy lives and just appreciate the beauty around them.

Uzma Muzaffar Saleemi (Calligraphy/Painting)

Uzma Muzaffar Saleemi is a seasoned artist that is taking place in her 8th art exhibition with this year’s Art in the Heartland showcase. Saleemi has had formal training in graphic design and painting, and her faith has been a great inspiration for her artwork.

When not involved in the creative arts, Saleemi moonlights as an importer. She had been working with ceramics for over six years, and has thoroughly enjoyed it. Currently, Saleemi is creating a mural for the Oklahoma Heart Hospital in Oklahoma City, a dream come true for any artist with a passion for bringing visual pleasure to the eyes and hearts of others. Through her artwork, Saleemi hopes to inspire individual’s hearts and soul towards God.

Yasmeen Muhammad (Oil Painting & Craft-works)

Sister Yasmeen Muhammad is a world traveler. In her travels she has experienced the great beauty of God’s creation the world over, which has given her the inspiration for her artwork. Muhammad is a self taught artist and her art reflects the mathematical balance of geometric figures and the beauty of nature (flowers) that gives praise to Almighty God. Her artwork is designed to praise God through using beautiful colors painted on canvas with oil based paint markers.

Sister Hughmerdes (Canvas Painting)

Sister Hughmerdes has studied fashion deign, wood art, and ceramics in Californica; ceramics, jewelery making, and wood art in Arizona; and ceramics and fiber art in Michigan. The majority of Sister Hughmerdes’ art work produced today are inspired by her faith and exhibited through the medium of acrylics on canvas and fabric arts. These art works are inspired by lost tradition of the Aboriginal Asiatic African Americans that are ‘reclaiming their own’ here in the West.


November 14, 2012
8:00 am - 4:00 pm


Oklahoma City University, Wanda Bass Atrium
2501 N. Blackwelder
Oklahoma City, OK 73106 United States
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