Center of African Studies

Three Abdullahs: A Genealogy of Resistance

Group Show
Three Abdullahs: A Genealogy of Resistance, Exhibition Invitation ,


Group Show
TO LET, Exhibition Invitation ,

SEE LISTING Peace is Dead

Dathini Mzayiya
Peace is Dead, Painting ,


Harry Oppenheimer Institute Building, Level 3, Engineering Mall Road, University of Cape Town, Upper Campus, Rondebosch, 7700


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James Matthews, Weaam Williams, Haroon Gunn-Salie and Igshaan Adams at Center of African Studies

Tuan Guru (Imam Abdullah Qadi Abdus Salam), Imam Abdullah Haron and musician Abdullah Ibrahim share a first name but also a firm grounding in Islam. Together they have plotted a course of resistance to colonialism and Apartheid with Islam as their vehicle. The three Abdullahs' lives have become salient points within the trajectory both of Islam in South Africa and in the story of South Africa itself. 

'Three Abdullahs: A Geneaology of Resistance' celebrates and reflects on this history by examining the visual representation of these figures in the public imagination through an exhibition format. UCT Honours in Curatorship student Justin Davy has invited Weaam Williams, Igshaan Adams and Haroon Gunn-Salie, artists who deal with the theme of resistance in their work, to respond individually to the archive of the Three Abdullahs with new and existing works.

Weaam Williams presents 'Medora: Ancestral Omega', a performative installation which centres around the practice of pinning a Medora - a turban-like headdress - onto a Muslim brides head on her wedding day. The practice of crafting and pinning Medoras is closely linked to the history of Weaam's family, her great-grandmother at one stage being the only person in Cape Town able to make a Medora. Furthermore, the work embraces women's stories and responds to a male dominated history including that of the Three Abdullahs.    

Fresh from a solo show entitled 'Have you seen Him?' at Blank Projects, Igshaan Adams presents a ritualistic performance in response to the idea of legacy or "what we leave behind when we die".

Haroon Gunn-Salie is a 2013 Sasol New Signatures finalist. He describes being named after Imam Abdullah Haron as "a narrative I have been coming to terms with throughout my life". For the exhibition Gunn-Salie will be digging deeper into the Imam Haron archive and simultaneously adding to it by documenting new stories throughout the course of the exhibition. 

Special Guest James Matthews, the acclaimed poet and icon of the struggle against Apartheid, will collaborate with Haroon Gunn-Salie on a performative piece conceived for the exhibition.

08 November 2013 - 18 November 2013

Various Artists at Center of African Studies

The Centre for African Studies presents the exhibition 'TO LET' by The Burning Museum Arts Collective.

Burning Museum is a collaborative arts collective of 5 individuals (Grant Juris, Jarrett Eramus, Justin Davy, Scott Williams, Tazneem Wentzel) from various disciplinary background, rooted in Cape Town, South Africa. Their work can be viewed on street corners, under bridges, and in alleyways around the city. Known for their street art, 'TO LET' will be their first step from the street into the gallery.

The showcasing will be a visual exploration on ideas of taking ownership, inheritance and historical property by cutting out and sticking up. The collective plays with paper, photostats, and replication in an imagining of the archive. 'TO LET' is a remixing of landscapes and portraits from the Van Kalker and Greshoff collections.

30 August 2013 - 13 September 2013

Dathini Mzayiya and Gabrielle Goliath at Center of African Studies

To be updated at a latter date

01 October 2012 - 27 October 2012