Zarah Cassim

“I confront a sense of confusion and disorientation in an absurd world.”

Zarah Cassim is a painter concerned with notions of perception. She uses her medium to affect a viewer’s encounter with spatial illusion. Her works foreground a visual rebellion against systemic norms by evolving as visual riddles about pictorial space.

Woven into the theme of unveiling the artifice of reality, is a concern with natural forms and spaces. Cassim appropriates the natural space as a metaphor for an existential attitude. It is in natural forms that she finds the vehicle for a sense of disorientation: the reflection of a chaotic or absurd world, which marks a breaking point for the human condition. Some of her surfaces revel in the flat beauty of the painted mark itself. As a viewer we are seduced by the texture and material of her tool of illusion. Other works evoke a dream-like, ungraspable landscape that threatens to dissolve at any concrete claim over form.

Cassim graduated with an Honours in Fine Art from the University of Cape Town in 2014. She was a Sasol New Signature finalist in 2013. In 2015 she was a finalist at the ABSA L’Atelier competition and also exhibited at the Turbine Art fair in Johannesburg with Salon 91. She held a solo exhibition at 99Loop in Cape Town titled These Spaces/These Places also in 2015 and has exhibited at various South African galleries, including the KKNK Absa gallery in 2016. In 2017 she participates in The Other Art Fair in New York and will host her second solo exhibition at Salon 91 titled The Guise of Reality.


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