Zarah Cassim is a 25 year old artist, born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa. She graduated from the University of Cape Town Michaelis School of Fine Art in 2014. She works within the mediums of photography and painting. In 2013 she was named a finalist in the Sasol New Signature Artists competition. In 2015 she was named a finalist in the Barclays Absa l’atelier competition. She is currently based in Paris.
Zarah Cassim’s art production challenges the surety we assume in our perception of images. She recognises that daily realities are consistently shaped by the exploration of self within a contemporary urban environment.
Her photography is inspired by experiences of modernist architecture. At first glance the images seem real in the immediate way we perceive photography. Closer inspection reveals the collaged lines and seams of digital manipulation which foregrounds the constructed nature of photographic vision itself.
Her paintings evolve from more personal experiences of everyday living. Sensitive or romantic memories are woven into her process of dissolving or removing painted layers in a surface interplay with the shadows of previously painted images. Colour palettes are chosen according to mood, with a preference shown for the more mysterious dark inky blues, greens, blacks and burnt sienna.
Because her work privileges the encounter with notions of perception, she seeks to evoke a space of sensitivity and reflection for the viewer: the longing of a place just beyond reach or the mute encounter with a blurred horizon.
Cassim graduated with an Honours in Fine Art from the University of Cape Town in 2014. In 2011 she co-launched the successful fashion label Lazuli. She has taught ceramic classes at local schools as part of the Kids Clay initiative and 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.