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“A picture is no more than a mirror, a vehicle that takes one back to one’s self, to turn one’s sight inward to find the self within and begin to meditate.”
Ibrahim El-Salahi, 2005
The career of Ibrahim El-Salahi, a pioneer of African modernism, spans over five decades and is marked by rigorous experimentation and intellectual curiosity. At 89 years old, he is recognized by curators and museums from around the world as one of the most important living African artists. His work draws from a vast array of local, national and international sources. The traditional crafts and ornamentation found in his native Sudan and the Arabic calligraphy used by his father for transcribing verses of the Qur’an have been potent influences. El-Salahi’s art also reflects his itinerant life and his experiences during the many years he has spent living, studying, and working abroad. The murals of the Mexican social-realists, the abstract geometric paintings of Piet Mondrian, and the cut-outs of Henri Matisse are some of the global influences that have shaped his work.
Ibrahim El-Salahi (b. 1930, Omdurman, Sudan) lives and works in Oxford, England. In addition to his career as a painter he is widely regarded for his numerous critical essays and is the recipient of dozens of honors and fellowships. He has received solo exhibitions of his work at the Tate Modern and ICA in London, Sharjah Art Museum, and numerous galleries around the world. His work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Metropolitan Museum, New York; The Art Institute of Chicago; The British Museum, London; Tate Modern, London; The Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC; The Guggenheim Museum, Abu Dhabi; The National Gallery, Berlin and many others.