Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Slade Lectures 2023: Lecture 4: Prison Drawing: Ibrahim El Salahi in Al Nimeiry’s Sudan, 1970s

Two years after its political independence from Egypt and Britain in 1956, Sudan witnessed the first of many military coups that have been a recurring feature of the country’s postcolonial history. In this lecture, I focus on the calligraphic figuration of Ibrahim El Salahi (b. 1930), the country’s leading modernist and one-time political prisoner. I show how the sophisticated formalism of Salahi’s drawings constituted a meditative critique of General Jaafar Al Nimeiry’s dictatorship (1969-1985), which survived multiple coups d’état, by stoking religious and ethnic crises, and systematic suppression of all political opposition.

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