The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi: Talking Art Series returned with its second instalment on the 18th of April at Louvre Abu Dhabi, exploring the work of one of Sudan’s leading contemporary artists, Ibrahim El-Salahi.

Discussing the importance and significance of Ibrahim El-Salahi’s illustrious career and creative output, the talk entitled Pioneering Modernism: Ibrahim El-Salahi, was led by Professor Salah Hassan, Goldwin Smith Professor of African and African Diaspora Art History and Visual Culture in Africana Studies and Research Center, and Department of History of Art and Visual Studies, and Director of the Institute for Comparative Modernities (ICM), Cornell University.

Born in Omdurman, Sudan in 1930, Ibrahim El-Salahi is one of the forefathers of modern art in Sudan and a key contributor to African modernism. His training in Sudan and the United Kingdom, coupled with studies and travel abroad, provided a transcultural framework for the development of his distinctive oeuvre, which integrates geometries, Islamic motifs, calligraphic forms, and imagery drawn from both African and Western art as evidenced by Untitled (1964), a work in the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi collection currently on view in the Louvre Abu Dhabi collection galleries.

El-Salahi was a founding member of the Khartoum School in 1960, which sought to foster an arts practice that responded to the specific cultural heritage of Sudan as the country emerged from decades of colonial control, gaining independence in 1956. In this programme Professor Salah Hassan will discuss the trajectory of El-Salahi’s career, sharing his original scholarship on the artist and reflecting on the 2012 retrospective that he curated for the Sharjah Art Museum and Tate Modern.

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