Work by visual artist and advocate Saba Taj featured at Moss Arts Center
April 2, 2018
The Moss Arts Center will feature a selection of vibrant and evocative mixed-media works by North Carolina-based artist and activist Saba Taj as part of a larger project to explore Muslim cultures through stories, images, sounds, and perspectives.
Taj’s work will be on display in the Moss Arts Center’s Francis T. Eck Exhibition Corridor from Thursday, April 5 through Saturday, April 21. The exhibition is part of the Moss Arts Center’s project, Salaam: Exploring Muslim Cultures. The center was awarded a grant by the Association of Performing Arts Professionals to strengthen cross-cultural understanding by engaging Virginia Tech students and other communities in Southwest Virginia with the diversity of Muslim cultures.
A Pakistani-American artist and activist from North Carolina who identifies as a queer Muslim, Taj’s work challenges racism and xenophobia through empowered representations of people of color. The exhibition features a selection of the artist’s new and recent works that highlight and explore the fluid, intersectional, and often contradictory identities of contemporary Muslim women. Rendered in mixed media, these works incorporate visual elements reminiscent of medieval European religious paintings layered with Islamic motifs to present portraits that are as multi-layered and conflated as the subjects themselves.
Taj, along with Syrian-American hip-hop artist Omar Offendum and Egyptian musician and DJ Karim Nagi, has worked with Virginia Tech students from a range of disciplines throughout the academic year during a series of residency activities, including class visits and workshops, as part of the Salaam project.
Taj worked with Virginia Tech students and community members to create tapestries, painted and adorned with fabric, that were inspired by the intersection between community artists’ experiences and iconic stories from the Quran.
The Moss Arts Center’s galleries are regularly open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. The galleries and all related events are free and open to the public.
Also included as part of the Salaam: Exploring Muslim Cultures project is “Kalimaat (Words): An English-Arabic Poetry Reading.” Held on April 11 at 7 p.m. in the Cube, located in the Moss Arts Center, the event features Virginia Tech students from Arabic classes led by Nadine Sinno, associate professor of Arabic, and Ragheda Nassereddine, instructor of Arabic, reciting prepared selections of poetry in Arabic and English. Presented in partnership with Virginia Tech's Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, the event is free and open to the public, but admission is first-come, first-served. To guarantee a seat, register online.
The Moss Arts Center project Salaam: Exploring Muslim Cultures is made possible by a grant from the Association of Performing Arts Professionals; Building Bridges: Arts, Culture, and Identity, a component of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; and the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.
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