Kamyar Binesh Tarigh

Artist Catalogue

Virtual Exhibition

slamse skool

Arabic-Afrikaans uses the Arabic alphabet to write Afrikaans phonetically. This resulted from interaction between exiles and slave communities mainly from the Indian Ocean region; mostly Muslims who used Arabic for written religious instruction. From 1795, they initiated madrassahs in Cape Town to teach Arabic reading and writing. While the first madrassah students understood Afrikaans, they read and wrote only in Arabic. Ajami scripts (Arabic scripts used to write non-Arabic languages) specific to South Africa developed. When Arabic-Afrikaans declined due to the Roman alphabet’s dominance, its texts were destroyed or lost. As these texts are re-found, awareness of this form of writing is re-emerging.

My project reflects on this complex history. It explores and implicitly honours the nuanced origins of Arabic-Afrikaans, not only through content but through the mediums I use. My practice of writing these archival Arabic-Afrikaans texts with ink – historically the primary vehicle for inscription – and subsequently erasing them with bleach, is a poetic reflection on the physical inscription of Arabic-Afrikaans, and its erasure. But what is erased never really disappears. Traces always remain. Just as awareness of Arabic-Afrikaans resurfaces, ink emerges through bleach. Sometimes I re-write upon the bleach; as history emerges into consciousness, it changes form, developing new layers

Kamyar Bineshtarigh

B. 1996

Semnan, Iran