Outburst Crush: Five Questions with Illustrator Autumn Crossman

This year for International Women’s Day we wanted to highlight Muslim women who wear the hijab or niqab in Quebec who are experiencing an increase of systemic and community violence after the proposal for the Quebec Charter of Values.  Outburst partnered with Muslimah illustrator Autumn Crossman to create a poster celebrating Muslim’s women resistance. We discovered & fell in LOVE with Autumn’s work through her tumblr blog especially the image “Hijabis in Paris”.  Autumn is from Winnipeg, Manitoba, you can find her on twitter. We asked her five questions about her art and inspiration. 


2014-03-07 17 37 22


1. Outburst: Tell us about yourself & your art

Autumn: So, I’ve been making art since I could hold a pencil. My dad used to sit me on his lap and I’d make him draw Sesame Street and Muppet characters for me and that planted the art seed! I didn’t really take it too seriously or get really into art until middle school when I started watching more anime and reading more comics. It was something that interested me beyond enjoying Disney and reading Sailor Moon manga so I kept at it!

2. Outburst:  Can you share some artists that inspire you?

Autumn: Too many! I have a lot of friends who happen to be artists that I admire a lot and who inspire me as well as some art heroes of mine I’ve loved for a long time like Quentin Blake who illustrated a lot of Roald Dahl’s books and more currently Kate Beaton, Fiona Staples, Tom Siddell, Phil Noto, Akiko Higashimura, Hayao Miyazaki and Lucy Knisely to name a small few. My tastes run eclectic mainly because I like to try and gain knowledge and inspiration fro anyone and anything.

3. Outburst!: You are a fantastic artist and have created pieces that speak to the hijab bans in Paris and now in Quebec. What inspired you to create these pieces? What do hope will inspire people to do once they see the illustration?

Autumn: Thanks! It’s a funny story actually, when i was still in school it was during France’s hijab ban and obviously I was pretty upset over it and I was discussing it with my friend/surrogate older sister Emma and she came up with the wordplay from Kanye lyrics and I was like wouldn’t it be so good if i drew something to that?” and she was like literally why arent you tho. It was for a school assignment first then i thought I’d share it and put it on tshirts and stuff on my Redbubble and it went over so well! I’m pretty proud of it and the dialogue especially with non Muslim friends that it opened up.

4. Outburst! You have a great tumblr blog that showcases your art. What has some of the feedback online to your work? 

Autumn: It’s been so great for me honestly, I’m so lucky. People have been really receptive to my storytelling and illustrations and doodles and slowly but surely I’m gaining a pretty rad fan base of people who all really care about my art and also sometimes me as well haha. 

5. Outburst!:  The name for our group came from the idea that we wanted to speak out as young Muslim women. Can you share a time you have spoken out?

Autumn: I don’t know if there’s anything specific? I do spend a lot of time in general being like “Uhhh that’s not a real…..fact……..” when i hear some of the stuff people say and have said. I get asked from time to time if I’m like, oppressed or if my dad made me wear hijab or if I was forced to quit school etc etc and while its not super often, it’s enough to get very annoying. 

 I’m fairly expressive so sometimes it’s less speaking up and more incredibly incredulous looks at people until they stop telling me the thing and feel shame, haha.  Sometimes I think the act in of itself of being a vocal muslim is speaking up because I do end up having to explain things on a fairly regular basis to many many people. Don’t be shy to tell people what you know and what you don’t. Sometimes people ask questions only someone with like 20 years of Islamic studies can answer. 

 Autumn is from Winnipeg, Manitoba, you can find her on twitter

Call for Muslimah Artists for Month-Long Art Gallery Exhibit at Daniels Spectrum


Truth & Dare Project

Truth & Dare Project

Submission Deadline is February 17th, 2014.

Outburst!, SpeakSudan and the Truth & Dare Project are looking for self-identified Muslim women to showcase their talents in photography and the visual arts. The art exhibit will be happening from April 1 – April 30th at Daniels Spectrum This exhibit will showcase the diverse ideas and creativity of Muslimah artists in the Greater Toronto Area. It is an opportunity for our communities to reflect upon our experiences, moving beyond narrow narratives of ‘submissive’, ‘quiet’, ‘violent’ and ‘oppressed’ that are painted on the regular. This art show will create a much needed space to celebrate our vibrant voices through art. Join us to bear witness to our truths and stories as Muslimah artists.

Submission Guidelines:

  • For visual pieces, please email images of the piece in JPG, GIF or PNG format. Please share what size the pieces are (dimensions and weight [if applicable]), if they are mounted or not and if there is anything else we need to be mindful of regarding your artwork.
  • For multi-media pieces, please email a link or media file. NOTE: Pieces do not have to specifically address themes of identity or religion. Multiple pieces may be submitted for consideration. Artists will have an opportunity to sell their work.
  • All pieces (not for sale and unsold) will be returned at the month long show.
  • Submissions are welcomed by anyone who self-identifies as a Muslim woman through the spectrum of familial, spiritual, political, cultural, ancestral connections.
  • Outburst, SpeakSudan and the Truth and Dare Project will be offering mentoring and workshops for artists. Please contact us if you are interested in these services.
  • All submissions should be sent to outburst@schliferclinic.com by Feb 17th, 2013 along with a brief artist bio. Please contact us if you are having trouble with sending submissions. We will let you know by February 21st if we are able to showcase your piece(s).

Outburst! Young Muslim Women Project is a movement of young Muslim women in Toronto. As young Muslim women we want to determine the ways in which we define and access safety. Outburst!, a program of the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, is an opportunity for us to build community through art, education and research.

SpeakSudan, is a safe space for East African Youth in Diaspora www.speaksudan.org

The Truth and Dare Project are photography based art-making workshops for young Muslim women. The workshops provide an opportunity to explore identity, strengthen self-confidence and create a sense of belonging.

The art gallery show is graciously funded by the ArtReach Pitch Contest.

Contact us at outburst@schliferclinic.com

Storytellers Poetry Workshop Series in Lawrence Heights in Collaboration with the The Renaissance Project


Storytellers is a four part workshop series in Lawrence Heights for young Muslim women. Come, chill and focus on sharing your voice through poetry. In our weekly gatherings we will use our pens to explore the theme of “self-love” with the intent of publishing work(s) in the Homebound Young Muslim Women Poetry Anthology 2014. We strive to make this is a safer space for everyone to locate their creative voice and be heard. It is one of four workshop series happening across the city for young Muslim women with project partners Outburst! SpeakSudan, Gashanti Unity, Youth Renaissance and Shine.

WAIT! There’s more, each member of the group will also have an opportunity to be a part of a poetry retreat AND be published in a city wide poetry book by young Muslimah poets. Have your voice heard!

Who: The workshops are open to anyone (16 – 29) who self-identifies as a Muslim woman through the spectrum of familial, spiritual, political, cultural, ancestral connections.

Location: 700 Lawrence Ave. West, Suite 226
Lawrence Square Mall (Lawrence Ave. West at Allen Rd.)

Workshop Dates include:

Saturdays 1 to 4 pm
January 11
January 18th
January 25th
February 1st.

Space is limited so please rsvp immediately. For those who are younger and are eager to participate please contact me directly.

Participants have access to
– TTC tokens
– Childcare (upon 48 request)
– Language Interpreters (including ASL) available
– Opportunity to be published
– Mentorship from establish Muslim women poets & writers

Pre-registration is required please contact us to register 416-323-9149 ext 268 or outburst@schliferclinic.com

About the Arts Educator: Nehal is a writer, social researcher and cultural producer living. Born in Khartoum, Sudan, Nehal has lived in the United Kingdom, the Sultanate of Oman and Canada. Her poetry can be found most recently in “The Great Black North: Contemporary African Canadian Poetry” and the forthcoming “Min Fami: Arab Feminist Reflections on Identity, Space and Resistance”.

Funding for Storytellers: Poetry Workshops for Young Muslim Women is provided by ArtReach Toronto, Canadian Women’s Foundation, Trillium Foundation, Laidlaw Foundation

The Renaissance Project is a youth-led organization based in Toronto, Ontario, which inspires, motivates, and empowers young people to become change makers within their communities. Our initiative is to use the power of media and creativity as a means to engage youth to explore different strategies to allow them to have a valuable impact on their future.

Outburst! Young Muslim Women Project is a movement of young Muslim women in Toronto who are breaking silence and speaking out about violence. As young Muslim women we want to determine the ways in which we define and access safety. Outburst!, a program of the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, is an opportunity for us to build community through art, education and research. Tumblr: http://outburstm.tumblr.com/

trillium Ontario-Womens-Directorate CWF_LOGO_RGB ArtReach Logo 2011