Friday 19th October 2018

In celebration of the opening of the British Museum’s Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic World, Poet in the City joined forces with FMC (Female Muslim Creatives), using live poetry and discussion to animate and explore the experiences of female Muslims throughout history. Part of the Museum’s opening Late event, the evening unfolded amongst the artefacts themselves, giving audiences the chance to discover Islamic objects dating from the 7th century to the present day. In the heart of the new gallery, between pieces of coveted Chinese porcelain and pages from the Persian epic Shahnama, Turkish wooden bath plugs or incense burners from Damascus, audiences encountered a performance from our Poetic Busker Rakaya Fetuga, or Asma Elbadawi, our Poetic Chronicler. Over the course of the event Elbadawi translated what she saw, heard and experienced into a poem that was shared at the end of the night.

FMC curated an intergenerational, all-female Muslim panel discussion, featuring some of the trailblazing poets, artists and activists who have worked to create legacies without compromising their identities. The panel will seek to open up dialogue exploring the female Muslim experience across multiple generations, echoing the contents of the collection, which reflects the links between the ancient and medieval as well as the modern worlds.

Together they will examine Muslim women's contribution to Islamic art and society throughout time, discussing how histories are handed down through generations and looking closely at how an artist’s work can reveal their experience of their time.


Female Muslim Creatives is an arts organisation that seeks to amplify the work of muslim, female identifying artists in the U.K and across the world. Shortened as FMC, it stands on three pillars, and aims to Nurture, Showcase and Connect muslim women artists. Founded by creative Najwa Umran after a tweet for an open call went viral and grossed 3.5k retweets in January 2017. Since its founding, Umran has- with the help of a creative team- put on several creative events such as an exhibition, numerous creative brunches and workshops.

Asma Elbadawi
Spoken word poet and Visual Artist Asma Elbadawi was born in Sudan and raised in England. Asma’s dual cultural heritage deeply influences her creativity, paired with a focus on international development and female empowerment. Asma is the Words First Leeds Finalist. She has poetry pieces published in the Muslim Women's Anthology and a short play commissioned by Freedom Studios. She has performed in the UK, Sudan and Malaysia and her work has featured on the BBC. In 2017 she successfully campaigned FIBA to allow Muslim women to wear hijabs in professional basketball.

Rakaya Esime Fetuga
Rakaya Esime Fetuga is a Muslim writer from London of dual West African heritage. Her work joins conversations on women, faith and identity. Rakaya won the Spread the Word Poetry Competition in 2017, was shortlisted for the Out-spoken Poetry Prize 2018 and won the Roundhouse Poetry Slam 2018. As an undergrad, Rakaya was twice awarded the Royal Holloway Creative Writing Prize (2015 and 2016) and is currently completing an MA in Fiction Writing at the same university. Rakaya is also an alumna of the Poet in the City Producers Scheme.

Sukina Pilgrim
Sukina Pilgrim is a Spoken-Word and Hip Hop artist, Workshop Facilitator and Event Organiser. She makes up one half of the Muslim female Hip Hop duo, Poetic Pilgrimage and has performed across the UK, Europe, the USA, North and South Africa with her group sharing their tool for dialogue and engagement. Her work has been featured on the BBC News, World Service and Asian Network, ITV, Channel 4 and Al Jazeera and has been written about in the Huffington Post, Daily Mail, The Voice and many other international media outlets. In March 2015 Al Jazeera screened a documentary about her group called Hip Hop Hijabis.

Sariaya Bah
Saraiya Bah is a British Sierra Leonean Writer, Poet and Cultural Producer. Drawing on the traditional West African storytelling style of the griot, she waxes lyrically about identity, faith, the relationship with self and everything in between. She has shared her words on multimedia platforms including The Islam Channel and British Muslim TV, had her work featured in the Radical Love Presents Female Lust exhibition that was dubbed “beautiful, bold and brave” by She has been cited as an up and coming Spoken Word artist to look out for on The Huffington Post website and regularly recites her poetry around The UK.

Saffana Monajed
Saffana Monajed is a mathematician and creative. Alongside working on multicultural marketing as a 9-5, Monajed co-founded Project Ribcage, a series of interviews with muslim women proffessionals to elevate the self image of muslim women in modern day society. She created it after wanting to create a series of interviews she wished existed to inspire her younger self to dream bigger and do better. Hailed a Trailblazing muslim women, Monajed has featured in the Stylist, Buzzfeed for her work.