Saba Taj is a visual artist based in Durham, NC. Inspired by beauty, queerness, and Islam, Taj engages with representation as a resilience practice. Their work includes mixed-media drawing, painting, and collage, as well as sewing and performance. Through these techniques, Taj explores the liminality of minoritized individuals as an embodiment of resistance, hope and possibility.
2016 MFA in Studio Art, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
2011 BA in Art Education, North Carolina Central University
HONORS / AWARDS / RESIDENCIES
2023 Brightwork Fellow, Anchorlight Studios, Raleigh NC
2021 Editor’s Pick and featured on Cover, New American Paintings, South: Issue #154, Curated by Molly Boarati,
Assistant Curator at Nasher Museum of Art, Duke University
2020 Grand Prize Winner, NC Artists Exhibition, (selected by Nat Trotman, Curator of Performance and Media, Guggenheim Museum) CAM Raleigh, Raleigh NC
2019-20 Post-MFA Fellow, Documentary Diversity Project at the Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University,
2017-18 Artist-in-Residence, Salaam: Exploring Muslim Cultures, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg VA
2017 Southern Constellations Fellowship, Elsewhere Museum, Greensboro NC
2015-16 Teaching Fellow, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill NC
2013 Third Prize Winner, 59th Annual Juried Art Competition (juried by Edie Carpenter, Director, GreenHill Gallery),
Durham Art Guild, Durham NC
Featured Artist, Exchange Gallery at Visual Art Exchange, Raleigh NC
2020 seeing bodies (installation), Perkins + Will Architecture Studio, Durham NC
2018 of beast | of virgin, Twelve Gates Arts, Philadelphia PA
Salaam, MOSS Arts Center, Blacksburg VA
2017 we have adorned everything on earth, Gatewood Gallery, Greensboro NC
Muslims are Awesome, Sumter Art Gallery, Sumter SC
we have adorned everything on earth, Guilford Art Gallery, Greensboro NC
2016 creatures from the earth made of earthly materials, Allcott Gallery, Chapel Hill NC
2014 An-Noor, Carrack Modern Art, Durham NC
2013 Technicolor Muslimah, Litmus Gallery, Raleigh NC
Technicolor Muslimah, Ravenscroft School, Raleigh NC
2012 Technicolor Muslimah, Room 100, Durham NC
Technicolor Muslimah, Carrack Modern Art, Durham NC
2022 Not in Repose: A Reckoning, a Moment, A Fury, Goodyear Arts, Charlotte NC
Alhumdu | Muslim Futurism, The Rubenstein Art Center at Duke University, Durham NC
Coined in the South, The Mint Museum, Charlotte NC
Futurisms (curated by Ingrid LaFleur), The Gallery at VCU Arts Qatar, Doha Qatar
Reckoning and Resilience: North Carolina Art Now, Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham NC
2021 A Collection of Changes, selections from the Raleigh Municipal Arts Collection at Block Gallery, Raleigh NC
Of Care and Destruction: 2021 Atlanta Biennial (curated by Jordan Amrikhani), Atlanta Contemporary Art Center,
2020 American Muslim Futures, Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art and Muslim Advocates, Virtual Exhibit
NC Artists Exhibition, CAM Raleigh, Raleigh NC
2019 breathing without a body, Basement Art Space, Chapel Hill NC
New Asian Futurisms, Asian Arts Initiative, Philadelphia PA
Figure | Form, Elder Gallery, Charlotte NC
Tomorrow We Inherit the Earth: The Queer Intifada (performance), Counterpulse, San Francisco CA
2018 (In)Visible Organ, Rubenstein Art Center, Duke University, Durham NC
Tomorrow We Inherit the Earth, (performance), The Stud, San Francisco CA
The Third Muslim, SOMArts Cultural Center (curated by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Yas Ahmed), San Francisco CA
Bull City Meets the Bayou, The Warehouse, New Orleans LA
2017 En | Gender, Cassilhaus (curated by Courtney Reid-Eaton), Chapel Hill NC
#BLM: Masterminding our Ordered Rage, Twelve Gates Arts (curated by Atif Sheikh), Philadelphia PA
Black on Black, American Tobacco Campus (curated by Mike Williams and Linda Dallas), Durham NC
creatures from the earth made of earthly materials, OUTsider Arts Festival, Austin TX
conjuring other planes of there, Carrack Modern Art (curated by Durham Artists Movement), Durham NC
MACONDO - A Journey Through Magical Realism (curated by Rafael Osuba), Durham Arts Council, Durham NC
2016 Black on Black, Visual Art Exchange (curated by Mike Williams and Linda Dallas), Raleigh NC
I Bear Witness (curated by Atif Sheikh), Asian Arts Initiative, Philadelphia PA
al maghreb ghareeb: the strange west, Carrack Modern Art, Durham NC
Poets/Artists (curated by Janice Bond), The Elephant Room Gallery, Chicago IL
Depth Perception (curated by Kelly McChesney) Ackland Art Museum, Chapel Hill NC
Everyday Chaos: Re-Collaging the Surface, Arcana, Durham NC
2015 the DAM show, Carrack Modern Art, Durham, NC
Self-Portraits by NC Artists (curated by Edie Carpenter) Greenhill Gallery, Greensboro NC
2014 75th Anniversary Alumni Exhibition, NCCU Art Museum, North Carolina Central University, Durham NC
Face to Face (selected by Beverly McIver), Durham Art Guild, Durham NC
Interface || interference, Carrack Modern Art, Durham NC
Truth to Power, Pleiades Gallery, Durham NC
2013 MOCAfest, World Islamic Economic Forum, London UK
59th Annual Juried Exhibition, Durham Art Guild, Durham NC
Featured Artist, Exchange Gallery at Visual Art Exchange, Raleigh NC
Unfettered, Visual Art Exchange, Raleigh NC
MUSLIMA: Muslim Women’s Art and Voices (curated by Samina Ali), International Museum of Women, Virtual Exhibit
2010 56th Annual Juried Exhibition, Durham Art Guild, Durham NC
2021 City of Raleigh Municipal Art Collection, Raleigh NC
2020 Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University, Durham NC
2019 Provident 1898, Durham NC
2022 Turner Carroll Gallery, Santa Fe NM
2022 New American Paintings, South: Issue #154, Curated by Molly Boarati, Assistant Curator at Nasher Museum of
Art, Duke University
2021 “of beast | of virgin.” Reconstructed Magazine, Volume 2: Bodies. 202-7 p.
Görkariksel, Banu, et al. Feminist Geography Unbound: Discomfort, Bodies, and Prefigured Futures.
First edition. ed. West Virginia University Press, 2021. (Cover)
2020 Crasnow, Sascha. “The diversity of the middle: mythology in intersectional trans representation.” Journal of
Visual Culture. Vol. 16, Issue 2, p 212-224. August.
2019 Alsous, Zaina. A Theory of Birds: Poems. University of Arkansas Press, 2019. (Cover)
Alsous, Zaina. “In her Art, Carrack Director Saba Taj Populates a Sanctuary for the Secret Language of Women.”
Durham: INDYWeek, March 7.
Krieger, Deborah. “Speculative Collages of Saba Taj Re-Imagine the Future Through a Queer, Brown Perspective.”
The Art Blog, January 3 (web).
2018 Hobbs, Margaret and Carla Rice, editors. “Gender and Women’s Studies: Critical Terrain.” 2nd ed. Toronto:
Women’s Press. 182-3 p.
Alsous, Zaina. “A Story of Us: In Conversation with Artists Monet Noelle Marshall and Saba Taj.” Scalawag
Magazine, Issue 15.
Bhutto, Zulfikar Ali. “Queer Muslim Futurism.” Archer Magazine, Issue 10.
Sayej, Nadja. “‘We’re Stepping out of a Binary’ - Celebrating the Art of Marginalized LGBT Muslims.” The
Guardian, January 22 (web).
B., Marke. “‘The Third Muslim’ Highlights Queer Faith, Art, Resilience.” 48 hills, January 23 (web).
“Queer and Trans Muslim Narratives of Resistance and Resilience Celebrated in New Exhibition.” Afropunk,
January 4 (web).
Seikaly, Roula. “‘The Third Muslim’ Builds an Archive of Resistance to Stereotypes.” KQED Arts, January 30 (web).
Kini, Aditi Natasha. “Queer Muslim Artists are Beyond a ‘Movement.’” Intomore.com, January 24 (web).
Kuruvilla, Carol. “These Queer Muslims are Using Art to Tell their Stories.” Huffington Post, January 31 (web).
Marques, Catarina. “The Third Muslim: Against All Discrimination.” Metal Magazine, January (web).
2017 Felix, Annie, “Queering Visibility In the Age of Digital Journalism,” New Museum: New INC, June 22 (web).
Stascio, Frank, “The State of Things: LGBTQ Faith Leaders Come Out of the Shadows,” WUNC 91.5, Durham NC,
April 27 (broadcast).
Habib, Samra, “Queer Muslim Women from the South: ‘We Exist and We are Fierce.’”The Guardian, February 3.
2016 Stascio, Frank, “The State of Things,” representing Black on Black, WUNC 91.5, Durham NC, October 25
Howe, Brian, “In the Carrack’s Former Digs, Durham Artists Movement Creates a Safe Space for Diverse Voices,”
INDYWeek, July 20.
Kuruvilla, Carol, “Queer Muslim Artist Saba Taj Sees Her Art as an Act of Resistance,” Huffington Post Religion,
Yusuf, Muhammad, “Targeting Stereotypes,” UAE: The Gulf Today, January 14.
2020 Panelist, Muslim Aesthetics: Shi’a Iconography Past, Present, and Future, presented by Equality Labs and
Reconstructed Magazine, virtual
2019 Panelist, Alternative Visions and Counter Institutions (with Open Engagement), The Carrack Modern Art, Durham
Keynote Speaker, Womxn of Worth Conference: Resilience and Triumph, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
2018 Visiting Artist Lecture, Hybridities, the Evil Eye, and the Apocalypse, Duke University, Durham NC
2017 TEDxDuke Speaker, Uncharted Waters: Art, Resistance, and the Dominant Narrative, Duke University, Durham
Panelist and Facilitator, Articulating Value (presented by Culture Mill), Living Arts Collective, Durham NC
Guest Speaker, 38th Annual Minority Health Conference: Systems of Power: Reclaiming our Past, Restructuring
our Future, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill NC
2016 Panelist and Facilitator, Southern Constellation Convergence (with Elsewhere Museum), Nasher Museum of Art,
Panelist, Artivism, Durham Art Guild, Durham NC
Panelist, Arts Activism in Durham (hosted by the Forum for Scholars and Publics), Duke University, Durham NC
ARTS ADMINISTRATION / CURATION
2020 Curator, (In)Vulnerability, Ackland Museum of Art, Chapel Hill NC
2018-19 Director, The Carrack Modern Art, Durham NC
2017 Advisory Committee, Duke Performances Building Bridges initiative, Durham NC
2016 Curator, Al Maghrib Ghareeb: The Strange West, The Carrack Modern Art, Durham NC
Board of Advisors, The Carrack Modern Art, Durham NC
2014-15 Graduate Assistantship, Hanes Visiting Artist Lecture Committee, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill NC
CULTURAL AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZING / MEMBERSHIPS
2020-21 Art Squad Lead, Durham Beyond Policing, Durham NC
2018-22 (Current) Member, Art Ain’t Innocent, Durham NC
2016 Organizer, Women’s March on Raleigh, Raleigh NC
2014-17 Member, Southerners on New Ground, Durham NC
2013-16 Founding Member and Lead Administrator, Durham Artists Movement (DAM), Durham NC
2013-14 Member, Pleiades Gallery, Durham NC
2009-14 Member, Durham Art Guild, Durham NC
2022 Visiting Instructor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill NC
2021 Visiting Instructor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill NC
Visiting Instructor, Guilford College, Greensboro NC
Visiting Instructor, Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University, Durham NC
Workshop Instructor, Rising Majority, virtual
Workshop Instructor, Reconstructed Magazine and Masjid Al-Rabia, virtual
2019 Sketching in the Galleries, Nasher Museum of Art, Duke University, Durham NC
2018 Workshop Instructor, Rubenstein Arts Center, Duke University, Durham NC
Lead Art Teacher, Githens Middle School, Durham NC
2017 Workshop Instructor, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh NC
2016 Art Instructor, The Arts Center, Carrboro NC
Teaching Fellow, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill NC