Ibrahim El-Salahi is a pioneering Sudanese artist known for his work drawing on Islamic, African and European traditions.

El-Salahi became fascinated with calligraphy as a child in Sudan, and later studied at the School of Design at Gordon Memorial College in Khartoum. He received a scholarship to study at the Slade School of Fine Art in London from 1954 to 1957.

Together with Untitled (1957), which enterd the Ashmolean's collection as part of the same acquisition, these two works illustrate the impact of El-Salahi’s studies in Britain. Untitled (1965) represents El-Salahi’s more abstract practice. After travelling around Sudan to research calligraphy and folklore, he began to incorporate elements of text. In this work he used crayon to make a rubbing from an etching plate, and also inserted found imagery into the picture.

Since 1998, El-Salahi has lived and worked in Oxford. In 2018 the Ashmolean organised his first solo exhibition in the city. Through these acquisitions, the museum aims to establish the significance of the artist both in terms of his contribution to African and Arab Modernism, and in the wider context of global 20th-century art.


The artist and Vigo Gallery, London

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