We had the good fortune of connecting with Farah Nizam and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Farah, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I was born and raised in Duluth, Georgia. What was once a small, slow-paced town has turned into a bustling and diverse suburb of Atlanta . It’s definitely not the same Duluth that I grew up in. Back then, I was always the “only” one: the only brown girl. the only Indian, the only Muslim. I’m proud to say it would be hard to fit into those categories in the Duluth of 2021. But being raised as a minority in every sense of the word is what gives my business a personal touch. I used to crave fitting in and feeling comfortable in my identity. Now, I focus my unique individuality into my hand painted dolls in the hopes that other children see themselves in them. I have learned to revel in my “only” traits. They are the momentum with which my brushes paint broad strokes of brown and black on otherwise pale wood dolls. Those traits that I spent my youth hiding and minimizing are now permanently sealed on my wooden dolls, under coats of hardened gloss, shining with pride.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Little Muslim Dolls are hand painted wooden peg dolls, painted to represent diverse cultural backgrounds. These dolls are unique because you can personally request to have them painted to look like you – or anyone you want! I have been so proud to paint dolls from many different backgrounds including Japanese, Palestinian, Brazilian, Turkish and many more. One of the best surprises on this journey was how well these dolls have been received by educators and family therapists who want to create a more diverse learning environment for the children they serve. I firmly believe both minority and majority populations benefit from diverse representation. I have been painting for a little over five years and I couldn’t have made it to where I am today if not for the encouragement and guidance of other female small business owners. It’s a remarkable thing when we choose collaboration over competition.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
One of my favorite places in the city is the Civil Rights Museum located in downtown Atlanta. There are some very moving exhibits there, but the one that stays with me the most is the lunch counter exhibit where you are able to experience firs hand the non-violent resistance to the Jim Crow laws of the 60’s through audio and visual re-enactments. Afterwards, I’d head over to my favorite college hangout, Ali Baba’s Turkish cafe, for the best gyros and baklava. And no trip to the city is complete without a stroll through Olympic Park.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Little Muslim Dolls all begin for the sake of my children in an effort to foster pride in their identity. They have been my cheering section, my inspiration and my biggest critics.

Website: www.littlemuslimdolls.etsy.com

Instagram: @littlemuslimdolls

Facebook: www.facebook.com/MuslimDolls

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