The Box Balconies of Lima

The Box Balconies of Lima

Originally designed to allow a gaze out to the street while blocking both harsh sunlight and prying eyes, the wooden "box balconies" that proliferated after the founding of Lima in 1535 drew from Spain's Islamic heritage. They are now beloved cultural emblems of the Peruvian capital that, if they could share stories, could tell many a tale.
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The Muralist–Teakster

The Muralist–Teakster

At once playful and disciplined, Hatiq Mohammed—“Teakster”—uses traditional Islamic motifs, Arabic calligraffiti and deep colors to “join communities together” in public projects of collaborative creativity that energize cultural dialog.

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Sea of Tears, Garden of Memory

Sea of Tears, Garden of Memory

Moved to memorialize the mostly anonymous people who continue to perish while crossing the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa to Europe, Algerian artist Rachid Koraïchi has opened both an exhibition and a working cemetery. 

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Central Asian Women Hit the US Road

Central Asian Women Hit the US Road

As the US trucker shortage deepens, there’s never been a better time to work behind the wheel. Joining those on the road are a growing number of women from Central Asia, where nomadism and can-do have long roots in the cultures of the Silk Roads. 

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Art of Islamic Patterns: Alicatado

Art of Islamic Patterns: Alicatado

In this six-part series, we begin by learning how to draw, step by step, a swirling dance of geometry from a famous cut-tile wall panel in the Alhambra palace in Granada, Spain. It’s easier than it looks.

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FirstLook: Golden Hour in Karachi, Pakistan

FirstLook: Golden Hour in Karachi, Pakistan

For a long time now, I have felt there is a richer, more complete narrative about Karachi—my hometown—than what is often produced in news media.
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Flavors: Chocolate Date Torte

Flavors: Chocolate Date Torte

This see-through date is also known as “the translucent;” in Arabic, noor means light. Not long ago, at a long, lazy lunch, I enjoyed delicious North African—inspired date and prune torte enrobed in smooth chocolate, not unlike this one.
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Milestones to Makkah and Madinah

Milestones to Makkah and Madinah

In 622 CE the Prophet Muhammad and his first followers rode some 450 kilometers from Makkah to Madinah along a segment of the caravan route that had long linked the Arabian Peninsula to North Africa and the Levant. In 2005 the discovery of an isolated monolith led to a 15-year archeological quest that has identified 55 similar and regularly spaced stones that appear to predate the ninth century CE. The discoveries are now helping locate with precision historic sites, thanks to the measure of distance between the milestones: 1,609 meters, give or take a few. Whether intact or broken; standing, fallen or partially buried, each stone is now being studied, and together they tell stories of history, faith and science.
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Pakistani Art Trucks on a Bridge of Culture

Pakistani Art Trucks on a Bridge of Culture

Colorfully painted trucks are everywhere in Pakistan, but in Chattanooga, Tennessee, a single truck by a renowned artist is helping an arts nonprofit jump-start international cultural appreciation in schools.
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