Saba Taj

Queer Muslim pushing back against Islamophobic narratives by illustrating hybridized identity


Saba Taj is a visual artist based in Durham, NC. Drawing from their identity as a queer Muslim in the American South, their work challenges racism and xenophobia through empowered representations of people of color. Their practice employs interdisciplinary processes including mixed-media drawing, painting and collage, sewing, and performance. Through these techniques, Taj seeks to celebrate subjects who are often characterized as monstrous, highlighting their hybridity and liminality as an embodied resistance to subjugation. Taj was the 2019-2020 post-MFA Fellow for the Documentary Diversity Project at CDS, former Executive Director of The Carrack Modern Art, Southern Constellations Fellow at Elsewhere Museum, and featured speaker at TEDxDuke in 2017. 

Taj's collection of work pushes back against islamophobic narratives by illustrating hybridized identity. Hybridity operates as a “contamination of imperial ideology, aesthetics, and identity, by natives who are striking back at imperial domination,” and “subvert[s] and reappropriate[s] dominant discourses” (Kraidy 5). Truly, Muslims are a combination of many parts, ever changing over time, complicated by diaspora, and highly individualized. In these paintings, Taj seeks to challenge the dehumanizing, hegemonic representations of Muslim women as oppressed and Other, in need of liberation by white America.


Photo credit: Chris Charles


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