Muslim Artist Opens “Mercy to Mankind” Exhibition in Rochester

Best art comes from a mixture of creativity, skill, and a strong belief in a message.

This is what inspired Minnesotan Somali-American Muslim artist Ayub Haji Omar to create his new art exhibition

Drawing messages from his faith, Omar incorporates themes from Islam about understanding and showing mercy to other people.

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Omar’s show, “Mercy to Mankind”, opens officially on Wednesday in Rochester Art Center, Post Bulletin reported.

“It’s nice when the art speaks for itself,” Omar said. “But there’s nothing better than having the artist in the room to talk about the work, their background and their process.”

His work includes quotes from the Qur’an. The theme of tolerance and understanding is also clear in several paintings.

“Just because people are a little different from us doesn’t mean we should despise them,” he said.

The title of the exhibition, Mercy to Mankind, is derived from the Qur’an description of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), known for his extraordinary good characters and shinning examples.

The Quran abounds with many instances about the Prophet (PBUH)’s noble characters, one of which is the verse below:

The Qur’an says,” And We have sent you (O Muhammad) not but as a mercy for the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists),” 21-107.

Better Understanding of Islam

Born to Somalian parents, Omar used to notice stares at his mother and her friends in public due to their hijab.

Growing up, he decided to draw on his faith to create a show to cultivate understanding of Islam and explore the similarities people of all faiths share.

The exhibition will run through March 14 for Omar who received Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council grant for advancing artists last year.

It is said in the Qur’an that inspiration is something that comes from God. Contemporary Islamic Art is a genre in its own right.

Blessed are those who have such a wonderful expressive talents from God; which surely are another form of drawing near to, honoring, respecting and loving, the Mighty God.