For more than a half century, Ibrahim El-Salahi has been at the forefront of African modernism in the visual arts. A renowned artist, writer, critic, and teacher, El-Salahi continues to refine his unique modernist vision, which combines and challenges Islamic, African, and western paradigms of modernism in the visual arts.
In this engaging memoir, El-Salahi recalls some of the most formative experiences of his career. From Khartoum to London to Sao Paulo to New York to Doha, and many places in between, El-Salahi shares his wide-ranging intellectual curiosity as he seeks out significant artwork and interesting conversation on several continents. He introduces his reader to encounters he had with figures such as the African-American modernists Hale Woodruff, Jacob Lawrence, and members of the Spiral Group; the legendary leader of the Nation of Islam, Elijah Muhammad; and the Mexican painter Rufino Tamayo. His memories of passing acquaintances are equally thoughtful and thought provoking.
El-Salahi also documents his contributions to Sudanese public culture, his unjust imprisonment under a military government, and subsequent exile from Sudan. In this important work, El-Salahi offers new perspectives on his development as an artist and on his foundational contributions to African and Arab modernism. Salah M. Hassan’s introduction contextualizes El-Salahi’s artwork within a global history of modern art and expands its narrative.