Saturday, November 25, 2006

Ibrahim El Salahi | The Sudan/UK

Ibrahim El Salahi
b.1930 - Present
Ibrahim El Salahi from the Sudan

Artist Ibrahim el-Salahi was born in Omdurman, Sudan and is known as pioneer of Modern Sudanese and African art. He studied at the School of Design at Gordon Memorial College, and worked as an art teacher until he was awarded a scholarship to the Slade School and Royal College of Art in London. After completing his studies in Europe, El Salahi returned to Sudan, where he taught for a number of years at the Khartoum School of Fine and Applied Art. Aside from his career as an artist, he has held posts in various Sudanese government ministries and has served as a consultant for UNESCO.

El Salahi`s Arab-African heritage is reflected in his work by his creative use of elements drawn from Sudan`s literary and visual heritage. Using modernist styles and techniques, the artist infuses Arabic calligraphy and African forms with modern shadings, creating works that reflect the crossing of cultures from the ancient to present. El Salahi divides his artistic career into three phases. The earliest is characterized by the use of subdued and earthy colors and compositions dominated by elemental forms and lines. During his very brief second phase, the artist began experimenting with abstract biomorphic figures. El-Salahi`s works from his third and current phase are executed in black and white, and emphasize line and structure. The artist started working in this manner after 1975, when he was falsely accused by the military dictatorship of Sudan of conducting anti-government activities and imprisoned for six months without trial. Since his release, El-Salahi lives and continues to work in exile in the state of Qatar and in Oxford, England.

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