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Islamic art exhibition honours heritage and culture

Work by Islamic artist, Shaheen Soni.

Work by Islamic artist, Shaheen Soni.

Published Sep 6, 2023


Cape Town - Our Cape Town Heritage will present its second exhibition for the year, coinciding with National Heritage Month.

The “Tulis” Islamic art exhibition can be viewed on First Thursday, and showcases work by local artists Shafeeqa Effendi and Shaheen Soni.

The exhibition will be open to the public on Thursday from 6.30pm until 10pm, on Friday and Saturday from 10am to 6pm, at Teddy’s Room, 7 Milner Road, Woodstock.

With the word summoning immediate nostalgia of long past years, toelies or tulis, loosely translates to “to write” in the Malay language. For the Cape Malay community, the word has adapted to mean to write in the Arabic language.

Trained local Islamic calligrapher Faheem Rhoda Jackson will exhibit his work and expound on his knowledge pertaining to the Janubi script (Khatt-al-Janubi) or Southern script, on Sunday from 10am to 1pm, at the same venue.

Jackson’s work draws on writings of the early Cape Malay Muslims.

Sunday’s exhibition forms part of Our Cape Town Heritage fund-raising efforts. Tickets are R150 through Quicket. Ticket holders will be placed into a draw to win prizes.

Our Cape Town Heritage founder and executive director Tashneem Abrahams said: “The Tulis exhibition is a celebration and a way to honour our heritage and culture in Cape Town, specifically the Cape Malay culture. We cannot look at the importance of preserving our heritage without considering that our cultural heritage is part of our identity.

“It represents our values, belongings, our strength, continuity and our pride. It is a connection between the past and the future, a way for us here, in the present, to be a part of history, as seen with the heart-warming Islamic art by Shaheen Soni and Shafeeqa Effendi, and traditional calligraphy art by Faheem Rhoda Jackson.”

Work by trained calligrapher Faheem Rhoda Jackson.

The non-profit organisation was established last year, as a means to provide a platform for artists to showcase their cultural works.

One of the core mandates of the organisation is to amplify the voices of marginalised artists in art spaces in Cape Town, known for its exclusivity, and to facilitate an inclusive and welcoming learning space for all communities.

Our Cape Town Heritage curator Aaliyah Ahmed said: “These artworks effortlessly reflect a story of hope, tranquillity, connection, faith, beauty and submission.

“We are honouring the faith and efforts of our forefathers who, with all their efforts, preserved the culture. Islamic Art is doing what Tulis did in the past – to preserve and to remind.”

Tickets are R150 through Quicket:

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