Sahlah Davids, ITHNA 3ASHAR, 2020. Mixed Media, 40 x 40 x 40cm.

‘Tell Me 3 Things About Yourself’ at Jaffer Modern

Jaffer Modern is pleased to announce, ‘Tell Me 3 Things About Yourself’, an exhibition featuring Sahlah Davids, Abdus Salaam and Aimee Messinger.

The exhibition, curated by Sara Khan, presents the artists as three elements, three intervals of introspection and retrospection, three moments of pause and three invitations to dialogue and debate. You are invited to consider this prevalent question, “Tell me 3 things about yourself”.  A question that often accommodates as an icebreaker for incipient friends and connections.  During a juncture when the familiar in the proverbial sense has become distorted, the artists are offering a halcyon escape from the disruption, to take a peregrination between oneself, another and beyond. 

Sahlah Davids, ITHNA 3ASHAR, 2020. Mixed Media, 40 x 40 x 40cm.Sahlah Davids, ITHNA 3ASHAR, 2020. Mixed Media, 40 x 40 x 40cm. All images courtesy of Jaffer Modern.

Cape Town-born and raised, Sahlah Davids has described her methods of creation as the product of the blended learning and trades of the Cape Muslim community, specifically the elders within her family. It is within the domestic, traditional, and religious spaces that Davids draws on the skills of her lineage, the history of their struggles and the embodiment of their spirituality. 

Her series ‘Pierced’ becomes an extension of her lived experience of growing up with a paternal grandfather who was a tailor and a maternal grandmother who is a seamstress. In relation to the history of slavery in the Cape, many Muslim slaves were skilled artisans who transferred their skills from one generation to the next. She views this aesthetic as both a connection to her family history as well as the religiopolitical lineage present in the Cape. The body of work places the viewer amid discussion, dispute, prayer, debate, ritual, a fight for freedom, cries of joy and sadness, dhikr, a march in solidarity, and lulled recitation. 

Aimee Messinger, Attempting to overcome the dark, 2019. Oil on Canvas.Aimee Messinger, Attempting to overcome the dark, 2019. Oil on Canvas.

Aimee Messinger’s body of work explores the notions of Oneness; a connection to the universe and an overwhelming Breath of Life that keeps everything alive. This feeling is anchored to the aesthetic and philosophical concept of the Sublime, where the sense of being overwhelmed is at the forefront.

Messinger constructs her own definition through a multitude of lenses. Translated through the medium of oil paint on canvas, whereby light and darkness is used metaphorically to suggest personal and universal narratives surrounding ‘life’ and ‘death.’ 

Abdus Salaam, Beyond the falls, 2021. Acrylic on Canvas.Abdus Salaam, Beyond the falls, 2021. Acrylic on Canvas.

Abdus Salaam’s work begins through poetry and extends through his multimedia practice. His art is contemporary in its theosophical minimalism, combining mediums and often focusing on their essence as the basis and purpose of the work. The focus of his recent body of work Falls of Abundance is the nature of creation as shadows and the singular light from which those shadows are cast. In continuing with Salaam’s exploration of “light painting,” he uses synthetic chemicals photographic paper, light, and instinctual motions in the obscurity of a photographic darkroom. Contrasting the cold and scientific darkroom process, Salaam combines clay, glass, and acrylic paint and video to further share the poetry of the natural world as it relates to the spiritual/metaphysical reality.

‘Tell Me 3 Things About Yourself’ will be on view at Jaffer Modern, Cape Town, South Africa, from the 4th of March till the 10th of April.