Cassie Williams: Muslim. Female. Surfer.
As a native of Southern California, I fulfilled my stereotype and learned to surf at a young age. What I didn’t expect to find after converting to Islam in 2001 were many other Muslim girls who shared my hobby. Yes, I may have had an open mind about the religion, but I guess, admittedly, I subconsciously adopted some of the stereotypes about Muslim women that have now been obliterated after I have had the privilege of getting to know so many incredible Muslim women. It didn’t take me long to realize after interacting on a personal level with hundreds of Muslim girls of all ages, nationalities and socio-economic backgrounds, that these women were just as, if not more, diverse in their interests and hobbies than any other group. These girls are now some of my best friends, some I go running with, some I go shopping with, others I plan fashion shows with, and still others… surf.
When I attended Fashion Fighting Famine a few weeks ago, I was not expecting to meet Kate Sikorski. But as fate would have it, our paths crossed, and I was introduced to this incredibly talented and insightful artist who not only shared my love of surfing, but also my fascination with the diversity displayed by the Muslim women we had met over the years.
As a surfer, Kate has created and run a free surf camp for women of color in South Africa, and now she is doing the same for Muslim women here in Southern California. As an artist with a Masters in Fine Arts from Cal State Long Beach, Kate has taken her skills to the beaches of Orange County where she not only teaches Muslim women how to surf, but where she also gives their stories a different voice through her drawings.
Kate Sikorski’s Burkini Surf series has gotten the attention of TIDE Magazine, The OC Weekly,Surfline.com, and American Art Collector magazine. And now we all have an opportunity to see Kate’s “Burkini Surf” series up close and personal and to meet the artist herself. On July 7, during the Santa Ana art walk, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m., the “Burkini Surf” series will be shown at Kavika Works Gallery, 731 Pointsettia Street. Not only will you have the opportunity to enjoy the artist and her work, word on the street is that there will also be great food, drinks and live music as well. What a great way to spend a SoCal Saturday.