Beneath My Skin, a deeply reflective body of work produced during lockdown by abstract artist Fatima Tayob Moosa

By CityLife Arts Writer

The past year, 2020 has been difficulty for humanity as the world faced the Covid-19 -pandemic, forcing many people to reflect on their lives deeply.. One such person who found herself in deep contemplation about her own life in the middle of a pandemic is abstract artist Fatima Tayob Moosa. That self reflection resulted in a body of work that forms the exhibition Beneath My Skin, which opens on May 1 and runs till May 31, 2021 at Riboville Boutique Hotel, Waterfall, Midrand.

Our skin encompasses the ability to tell deeply rooted narratives untold myths stories systems and modes of understanding. Beneath our flesh lies an internal landscape a place where light refracts adapts and dances in relation to our external environment. These elements dictate and determine our inner well-being and reaction to the external world and ultimately our correlation to the individuals placed within it. Similar to a map our internal landscape should never be regarded as a reflection of the external world but should be acknowledged as a system and site of internal processing- a channel that dictates patterns of internal language and systems of healing contemplation and learning. Beneath our flesh we are deeply influenced by natural and man created forces. Our internal bodies possess the ability to mold systems of understanding we process information which then encompasses our well-being and ultimately our higher selves. These processes inform our relation to one another in a profound silent manner.’

The above paragraph defines a deeply seated structure of understanding for experimental and multi-disciplined artist Fatima Tayob Moosa. Beneath My Skin is an introspective petit solo body of work by Moosa which relays her experiences and reflections stemming from the COVID 19 pandemic which forced the artist to interact with her materials in a profound and progressive manner.

The artist examined her internal reactions and studio processing to her external environment and stimuli into a system of understanding and process-driven production. The intimate collection portrays Fatima’s ability to extend her practice beyond a period of isolation and refinement taking her internal reflections and observations from the metaphysical to the physical. Fatima states;

‘The past year has been one of the most impactful I’ve experienced it has been a time of deep reflection going deep within and holding up a mirror to every part of my being even when I didn’t want to. There have been times when I’ve questioned everything about me the person I am scanning myself with a magnifying glass to points of exhaustion and break down. Through this intense questioning I found myself turning to my faith which felt like the only sure thing in a world where I couldn’t tell which way is up. The only way to describe the intensity of enduring inner turmoil and at the same time discovering peace and patience during that endurance is the intensity of heat and how that heat had the ability to transform my being.

These works are a reflection of my experience which has also prompted further exploration into the process of change through heat. I have used heat to melt and transform beeswax and fabric to express my emotions and state of being. Exploring how these materials respond to heat and go through various forms during melting and cooling has allowed me to find a voice and outlet for my thoughts and feelings. It is only through some sort of pressure and intensity that our spiritual hearts can evolve and in some way be purified so that the landscapes of our being can renew and grow back richer similar to the way natural veld fires clean the earth to allow for new growth. As a Muslim, this type of endurance through any difficult situation is called Sabr the perseverance of the soul towards a form of purification.’

Through the use of diversified materials- oils; fabrics; pigments; beeswax and man-made substrates Fatima portrays a diversified myriad of layered ambiguous narratives – compositional understandings and reflections which invite interaction and contemplation from the viewer. Her burning melting and heating integration processes utilized on her tactile surfaces act as a metaphor for how experiences alter our being through endurance and patience which leads to a place of self-awareness and understanding.

Through the heat of endurance and Sabr the spiritual heart can evolve and transform towards deeper levels of purified awareness. Through these philosophies and processing Fatima displays an infinite understanding of materiality and displays an aptitude to create an interactive experience between the art viewer and the art object which has become the foundation for many as one of the most fundamental aspects of Contemporary Art Practice globally in the last Century.

.Beneath My Skin’a solo exhibition of abstract works by Fatima Tayob Moosa opening on 1 May, closing on 31 May 2021 at Riboville Boutique Hotel, 1 Apaloosa Dr Gate 9, Waterfall Equestrian Estate, Waterfall Drive, Midrand.

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