For his mural, Muhammad chose colors that felt comforting and inspiring to him. He wants viewers to think about Dr. King’s quote, “The time is always right to do what is right.” Even if the words in the mural aren’t readable for everyone, the message for peace, harmony, and courage is still clear. He is grateful that the mural is right by the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Museum, which he feels adds an additional layer of meaning to the piece and allows even more viewers in the community to witness this powerful message.
Martin Luther King
About the Artist
Muhammad Zaman Muhammad grew up in Bangladesh and moved to the East Side of Buffalo when he was 11 years old. At that time, in 2004, he saw a lot of anti-Muslim sentiment in the media and wanted to do something to help challenge the negativity. He came across classic Arabic calligraphy and was inspired by the way that this traditional art form preserved and celebrated Arabic culture in such a beautiful way — and how people from all backgrounds could appreciate it. Muhammad tried to learn classic Arabic calligraphy, but because it is an ancient art, there are many rules, and he struggled to find a teacher in Western New York who could help him on his path. That’s when he started admiring graffiti artists, who could take classic text and give it its own style. Muhammad then started doing freestyle Arabic calligraphy because of the way that it combined three vital elements of his identity: his Bangledesh home, his life in Buffalo, and his religious faith. Not many people in Buffalo are able to read Arabic, but Muhammad appreciates that with freestyle art, the message is still clear and can resonate with all people.
He has worked on many murals in the past including for Buffalo State University, the Burchfield Penny Museum, and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.