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.

EDUCATION
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,
                           Durham NC

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


 

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

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  


 

GROUP EXHIBITIONS

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,
                    Atlanta GA 

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


COLLECTIONS

2021    City of Raleigh Municipal Art Collection, Raleigh NC

2020    Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University, Durham NC

2019    Provident 1898, Durham NC


 

REPRESENTATION

2022    Turner Carroll Gallery, Santa Fe NM


 

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY 

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
                    (broadcast).
                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,
                     June 24.
                 Yusuf, Muhammad, “Targeting Stereotypes,” UAE: The Gulf Today, January 14.


 

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS 

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
                     NC
            Keynote Speaker, Womxn of Worth Conference: Resilience and Triumph, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
                     NC

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
                     NC
            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,
                      Durham NC
           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


 

TEACHING

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