Gallery 8, Lower Ground Floor
"I’m very much obsessed with my work. I am a painter … I go to bed dreaming of figures, forms, and colours and wake up to translate my visions and dreams into works of art."
Ibrahim El-Salahi is a pioneer of African and Arab Modernism and one of the most influential figures in Sudanese art today. His works of art draw from a vivid imagination rooted in the traditions of his homeland, which he fuses with inventive forms of calligraphy, abstraction and a profound knowledge of art history.
This exhibition was the first solo exhibition of El-Salahi’s works in Oxford. It presented early works on paper never before shown, as well as the distinctive multi-panel paintings, such as the lively Flamenco Dancers, 2012. It also featured new work, such as meditative drawings that El-Salahi has made on envelopes and medicine packets when suffering from physical pain.
The exhibition set El-Salahi’s works into dialogue with specially selected ancient Sudanese objects from the Ashmolean’s collection. Examples of pottery, decorated with images of the people, plants and animals of the region, were chosen together with the artist, underlining how, in El-Salahi’s words, ‘the past is linked with the present’.
Image: Flamenco Dancers, 2012 © Ibrahim El-Salahi