Identity origins wins Sasol New Signatures merit award

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Identity art piece wins Sasol New Signatures merit award

Nazeerah Jacub is a young Muslim woman who has explored and embraced art within her religion. Her yearning to become an established artist has led to her winning a merit award in the 2015 Sasol New Signatures competition for her work,  ‘Identity Origins’. 

Sasol New Signatures is an initiative of the Association of Arts Pretoria and is recognised as the longest running art competition of its kind in South Africa. 

This year, Sasol celebrates 26 years as the main sponsor, playing a pivotal role in unearthing new talent and providing a platform from which emerging artists can launch their careers. Sasol New Signatures is open to South African artists above the age of 18. This must be emerging artists who have never had a solo exhibition. 

In the fabric painting, Jacub explores the representation of a Muslim prayer mat (Mus’Allah), which plays an integral part in every Muslim as it is used five times a day in prayer. 

“Being a young Muslim woman growing up in South Africa, I consider myself a hybrid of influences. On the one hand that of Indian culture, and on the other a practicing Muslim. I am intrigued by origins and pattern as they hold great importance amongst Indian women,” explains Jacub.

She said art is something that is seldom explored within the Muslim community and is generally regarded as a hobby for older women. 

Through her painting, she challenges this perception by elevating art to the same level as prayer. The artwork is a painting of a Mus’Allah with a fading appearance, reinforcing regular use and prayer. The painting combines Islamic pattern with Indian patterns as a means of embracing this rather ‘odd’ identity. 

Jacub’s work will be exhibited alongside 110 Sasol New Signatures finalists at the Pretoria Art Museum from 3 September to 4 October 2015. The exhibition also includes a solo exhibition by the 2014 Sasol New Signatures winner, Elizabeth Balcomb, titled “Auguries of Innocence”.

For more information visit or contact Nandi Hilliard from the Association of Arts Pretoria on 012 346 3100 or