Last evening at Marriott Downtown Philadelphia venue of the African Studies Association annual conference, many friends and colleagues showed up for the Nka
reception for Ibrahim El Salahi's new book and our journal's latest, special double issue on the Black Arts Movement. But it was great to see Salahi who at 82 looks admirably healthy and in good spirits. It is a milestone for him and for his generation of African modernists that the book (edited by Nka
's Salah M. Hassan) was published, and that his retrospective which will now go to the Tate Modern next summer, after its opening at the Sharjah Art Museum and second stop at Kara Art Center, Doha in Qatar. Thanks to all these friends and colleagues who showed up for the reception: Toyin Falola, Steve Nelson, Susan Vogel, Akin Adesokan, Amanda Carlson, Dominique Malaquais, Bill Dewey, Andrea Frohne, Mario Pissara, Adedoyin Teriba, Bosede George, Kristen Windmuller-Luna, Joanna Grabski, Kinsey Katchka, Ahmad Sikainga, and...
In the meantime, I am simply itching to see El Salahi's new "Andalusian series" of large-scale multi-panel works, the making of which, he tells me, consumes him each day for at least 7 hours. The series, inspired by the figure of flamenco dancers he encountered at the south of Spain, should be something to behold, especially after he spent the last several years working on the motif of the evergreen Haraz tree--a subject that allowed him, perhaps more than ever before to bring disciplined graphic notation and composition as close as possible to the state of metaphysical grace to which Sufi mystics aspire through meditation. I am now wondering how he has translated the bodily sensuousness and lyricism of the flamenco dance into his largely black & white drawings and paintings. I have to go to England, to the Master's studio!
Post a Comment