Taj, who earned her M.F.A. from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2016, describes herself as a queer Muslim, a femme mixed-media visual artist and activist whose work centers around identity and challenging Islamophobia and sexism. She is a founding member of Durham Artists Movement, a local collective of artists privileging the voices of queer people of color.
The artist’s campus visit, April 4-5, is the second in a two-part “Art and Identity Discussion Series,” funded by a Center for Principled Problem Solving Partnership Grant, and organized by Antoine Williams, assistant professor of art. The series brings artists from marginalized and/or minority communities whose work focuses on identity, to engage Guilford’s student body through lectures, workshops and discussions about contemporary issues surrounding the artist’s work.
In We have adorned everything on earth (2017) Saba Taj describes postcolonial hybridity, translating liminalities of identity and home into mixed media collage and painting. Fragmented clippings from popular magazines selling stereotyped notions of the exotic other transcend into formidable hybrid creatures. These reincarnated femme-monsters are both subjected to and agents of destruction and transformation, at war with an enemy that shapeshifts from external embodied form, to disembodied gaze, to internalized illness.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.