Pablo Picasso once wrote, “The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.” For centuries artists have understood the importance of nature and that by connecting themselves with her rhythm, they would be better able to express themselves creatively. Fatima Tayob Moosa is a contemporary South African artist based in Johannesburg who focuses on the idea of how elements can change and evolve to create new stories and meaning. She is greatly inspired by the relationship between physical and metaphysical energy and this relationship is explored through a variety of abstractions and mark making in her art. Moosa’s work is process based and consists of a variety of media including drawing, painting, and photography amongst others, as well as the use of natural elements such as gravity, water, salt and wind.

Moosa’s artistic process not only involves the physical act of creating art but explores metaphysical energy and the notion of resonance by using natural elements and other mediums in a spontaneous composition. This ‘spontaneity’ is reminiscent of chance art which flourished during the Dada movement in the late 1910’s, during which artists incorporated elements of chance in the creation of art. According to Jean Arp, this was done by ‘totally surrendering to the unconscious’. In Moosa’s work, the concept of resonance and the cyclical nature of the universe is reflected in her approach to her work, which changes daily depending on her spiritual and emotional state at the time. Her work is therefore also a cycle, a cycle of change, of degeneration and regeneration.

In 2008 Moosa received a Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design at the Greenside Design Centre, College of Design in Johannesburg and completed a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Fine Art at the University of Hertfordshire in Edinburg through the Interactive Design Institute in 2018. She was a participant of the 2019 RMB Talent Unlocked Program in association with VANSA and Assemblage where her work was shown at the Turbine Art Fair. She has taken part in numerous group shows in South Africa and recently took part in the Amsterdam Art Festival with The Centre for the Less Good Idea. Her solo exhibitions include “Periodic Motion” at 99 Loop Gallery, Cape Town in 2019, A student exhibition entitled, “Encounters” at The Art Link Gallery on 6th in Johannesburg 2018, as well as exhibiting for the Black Women’s Association (BWA) Conference in Durban 2014.

In a world where we have separated ourselves so much from nature, Moosa has used the environment and our innate connection to the earth as mediums in her work. The old saying that ‘everything is connected’ is the underlying theme that is reflected throughout her artistic process. By understanding the world and the invisible forces that bind us – the cycles, orbits and gravitational pulls – we understand that not everything needs to be controlled and that much beauty is revealed by loosening our grip.


Text by Jaycene-Fay Ravenscroft