Credit: Beth De Woody via Vigo Gallery
The most compelling thing about Sudanese artist Ibrahim El Salahi isn’t just his pioneering of African surrealism – but the full arch of his story. From being detained as a political prisoner in Khartoum, to being celebrated in the hallowed halls of the Tate Modern in London, and the MoMa in New York – El Salahi’s story is one of enduring resilience.
Because of the transcendent power of art, artists will often face threats, censorship, and persecution. Dictators know, after all, that unfettered creative expression inspires the exchange of ideas and stimulates political engagement. In may ways El Salahi poses a triple threat – he is a writer, a former diplomat, and an artist. In fact, he is considered by many to be the most important African artist alive today.
His style blends elements of European surrealism with traditional African motifs – evoking a gesture of pure expression, freedom and transnationalism. A year ago, Artsy named him among artists everyone should know. At Africa Speaks 4 Africa, we agree. We share the article below in celebration of this trailblazing artist, who’s commitment to his craft coupled with an unrelenting, un-silenceable spirit, has earned him a place among the greats.