Rebellion, Community, Township Art and Heritage in the era of Apartheid. This work is a vibrant fusion of the life and art of a quintessential Johannesburg painter and a classic twentieth-century South African story.
In this book, author Bashier Sallie creates an archive of the life of his grandfather, Mogamat Sallie Sallie, the remarkable man who was so influential in his upbringing. M.S. Sallie was a master craftsman, a saddlemaker, a Rakam creator, a fine artist and a leader of his community. His story of a life spent in Fietas, Sophiatown, Albertville, Kliptown, Newclare and Spitskop Avenue, Bosmont South Africa is the story of many of our elders… it’s a journey you will enjoy. In Canvases of a Mubarak Life, he has captured a remarkable artist’s story, but also the story of a community that would not be held back. Ferial Haffajee – journalist, newspaper editor, author and art lover.
A welcome addition to an extremely limited archive of work by artists of colour who created their artworks under apartheid. This unheralded artist, M.S. Sallie, emanated from and lived amongst the very communities that were so deeply affected by the actions of the repressive regime. This book therefore serves as an important personal archive for the Sallie family, but also as a significant addition to the recovery of that which was lost or refused within the annals of South African art history.
Najmah Kamedien (artist and final-year Fine Arts student, Ruth Prowse School of Art) and Rizwaanah Saloojee (artist and final-year Fine Arts student, Michaelis School of Fine Arts, University of Cape Town).
The work of M.S. Sallie as presented in this book possesses a unique power, transcending boundaries and resonating with individuals across time and space. It has relevance and resonance today for black South Africans, giving them the opportunity to encounter and appreciate the life and work an artist of whose existence they may have been unaware, and it offers younger South Africans or white South Africans access to a world (and a humanity) that has not previously been available to them.
Ebrahim Fakir (political researcher and analyst, author and activist).
Bashier Sallie’s chronicle of the life of his grandfather, M.S. Sallie, across generations, with its places and spaces, its family lineages and community relations, its stories and inherent Malay cultural references, is an embrace to the bosom of his grandfather’s artwork, which in turn, as Bashier writes, ‘opened a window’ to his grandfather’s world. An invaluable record of continuing memory, which gives us meaning and anchors us.
Feizel Mamdoo, co-founder of the Fietas Festival; filmmaker; writer; heritage, arts and culture worker.
The history of South African art is not settled and there are many artists who remain overlooked, their stories still to be recovered. This warm-hearted family memoir and proud biography is an important first step in the retrieval of the story of artist M.S. Sallie. It provides a deeper insight into this quintessential Johannesburg painter, whose figurative output records the pleasures of family, home, township life, faith and travel.
Sean O’Toole, art critic and author of Irma Stern: African in Europe – European in Africa.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Debut author Bashier Sallie was born in Bosmont in 1967 and raised in the south-western townships of Johannesburg, South Africa. He was schooled in his home town and later studied at the Telkom College, UNISA and the University of the Witwatersrand. He is a telecoms professional with more than three decades’ experience in the industry, and has held roles in telecoms and IT senior executive leadership for the last two decades (most notably the roles of managing director, wholesale and networks, for Telkom SA, and chief technology and information officer for Telkom SA and Bahrain Telecoms).
He says he is the proud grandson of M.S. Sallie, but unfortunately did not inherit one iota of his grandfather’s artistic talent. Bashier founded and runs RioSal, a telecoms, media and technology consultancy business, and also oversees other family-owned businesses. He lives with his family in Cape Town.