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of beast | of virgin - Saba Taj

Twelve Gates Arts will showcase a series of mixed-media pieces from North Carolina-based artist Saba Taj. The works visualize the inhabitants of a fictional, but relevantly apocalyptic ideation of the future - with an empowering twist. The delicacy with which Taj treats the “strange” manifestations leaves one with a sense that they are nurturing the visualized forms into the present.

“In of beast | of virgin I imagine a future where the oppressed inherit the earth. Generations ago, the powerful fled by way of spaceship, leaving the rest to die and calling it “the end of the world.” But the world did not end. Those left behind transformed in their earthbound existence, evolving with a changing planet through a rapid process of unbecoming and hybridization. The boundaries between species, gender, bodies and environment collapsed,

giving way to an interconnected and collaborative network of life forms. These chimeric life forms, or beasts of the earth, are the focus of my work. They are the embodiment of the in- between, of existing in motion -- uncontrolled, uncolonized, and with endless adaptive possibilities.” - Taj

Saba Taj is a Southern Muslim artist and arts advocate based in Durham NC. Their work focuses on postcolonial hybridity, and they employ mixed media collage, sewing, performance and sculpture to illustrate the abundant in-betweenness of diaspora. Taj remixes cultural references from their South Asian, Southern, Muslim, and queer identities to illustrate stories of apocalypse and survival. Saba earned their Masters in Fine Art from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and currently serves as Director of The Carrack Modern Art, a nonprofit community art gallery in Durham NC. Their work has previously been shown at 12Gates in the group show Masterminding Our Ordered Rage in May/June 2017.