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Guide to the Muslims in Brooklyn oral histories 2018.006

Brooklyn Historical Society
128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn 11201

Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by Elena Locascio

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on June 13, 2019
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 Revised by Maggie Schreiner to reflect updated access restrictions.  , April 2019

Container List

Oral History Interview with Baseera Khan, September 11, 2018

Biographical / Historical

Baseera Khan was born in 1980 to Indian immigrants in Denton, Texas. She became involved in the arts as a young adult, earning a bachelor of the fine arts from the University of North Texas in Denton and a master of the fine arts from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Her artwork has often focused around the intersection of identity, politics, and culture. She participated in art shows and performances at various New York cultural institutions, and her solo exhibition, iamuslima, was first shown at the Participant Inc. Gallery in New York City and later had installments in Texas and Colorado. As a teacher, she also worked to create safe spaces for self-expression and encouraged others to think critically about how a creator's identities inform their work.

Scope and Contents

In this interview, Baseera Khan discusses her parents' early lives in India, her experiences growing up in their insular immigrant family in Denton, Texas, and her encounters with bullying and racism from the broader Denton community. She talks extensively about her involvement in the arts and about "creating spaces" through her artwork, especially regarding her show iamuslima and the design class she was teaching at the New School's Parsons School of Design in New York City during the 2016 presidential election. Throughout the interview, she also repeatedly returns to her feminist interpretation of Islam; the intersection between prejudice, capitalism, and artistic expression; and her broader philosophy regarding the societal inequities around us. In addition, she talks about her formal education and studying art in school. Interview conducted by Liz H. Strong.

Conditions Governing Access

This interview can be accessed onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and online at the Oral History Portal.

Subject Names

  • Khan, Baseera

Subject Organizations

  • Cornell University. College of Architecture, Art, and Planning
  • Parsons School of Design
  • Participant Inc. Gallery (New York, N.Y.)

Subject Topics

  • American artists -- United States
  • Capitalism -- Moral and ethical aspects
  • Children of immigrants -- Texas -- Denton
  • Colorism -- Texas
  • Feminism -- Religious aspects -- Islam
  • Immigrants -- Texas -- Denton
  • Internet and activism
  • Islam and art -- United States
  • Islamophobia -- United States
  • Muslim artists -- United States
  • Patriarchy
  • Presidents -- United States -- Election -- 2016
  • South Asian families -- Texas
  • South Asian Americans -- United States
  • Women artists -- United States
  • Women in Islam

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Denton (Tex.)