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Ibrahim El-Salahi, "The Artist in His Own Words"

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 4:30pm to 6:00pm

Africana Studies and Research Center, Multipurpose Room
310 Triphammer Rd, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA

Followed by a book reception for Ibrahim El-Salahi: A Visionary Modernist (New York: Museum for African Art and University of Washington Press, 2012), edited by Salah M. Hassan

Born in 1930 in the historic city of Omdurman, Sudan, and educated at the School of Design, Gordon Memorial College (subsequently renamed the Khartoum School of Fine and Applied Art), Ibrahim El-Salahi is truly one of the most impressive figures in the field of contemporary African art. He is an artist whose productivity has spanned more than five decades, and a powerful intellectual who remains morally conscientious, socially concerned, and uncompromising in his artistic integrity. El-Salahi's prolific career is one of constant experimentation with different techniques, symbolic languages, and visions. His diverse body of work is not bound within one style nor is it constrained by the early parameters of Sudanese aesthetic concerns. His paintings combine a critical understanding of Western art principles with an original visual sophistication in their reference to Sudanese and African as well as Islamic art forms. Revered throughout African and the Middle East, El-Salahi has inspired generations of artists with his meditative approach to imagery.

Ibrahim El-Salahi: A Visionary Modernist (New York: Museum for African Art and University of Washington Press, 2012), edited Salah M. Hassan, chronicles the evolution of El-Salahi's artwork over more than fifty years of sustained artistic productivity and intellectual engagement. El-Salahi's accomplishments offer profound possibilities for both interrogating and repositioning African modernism in the context of modernity as a universal idea, one in which African art history is part and parcel of a global art history. Hence, the essays included in this book attempt to reconstruct the remarkable journey of El-Salahi, and provide a critical look at his artist contributions in an effort to expand the narrative of modernism in the visual arts from comparative and global perspectives. This book includes a range of contributions by well known art historians and art critics, such as Chika Okeke-Agulu, Sarah Adams, Hassan Musa, Uli Beier, Iftikhar Dadi, Salah M. Hassan, and Ibrahim El-Salahi.