Universes in Universe

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Ibrahim El-Salahi

The Last Sound, 1964
Oil on canvas
121.5 x 121.5 cm

Ibrahim El-Salahi
Born in 1930, Omdurman, Sudan
Lives and works in Oxford, UK

A work by the foundational figure of African modernism, Sudanese artist Ibrahim El-Salahi. The artist’s intricately detailed compositions draw on Islamic, African, Arab, and Western artistic traditions. In The Last Sound (1964), a fascinating amalgam of muted abstract shapes and curves, angular lines are sparsely balanced across the square canvas. Referencing the passing of his father, a Muslim cleric, the painting’s title The Last Sound invokes the final elusive sound of a soul’s divine passage from the corporeal world to the eternal one. Making reference to the prayers for the deceased in Sufi Islamic practice, this work poignantly culminates El-Salahi’s view throughout his career that his creative production is channeled through his commitment to the spiritual process.

Text by Sarah Rogers and Mandy Merzaban

© Photo: Courtesy of Barjeel Art Foundation

A Century in Flux - photos

Highlights from the Barjeel Art Foundation. Sharjah Art Museum, UAE, 12 May 2018 - 31 May 2023. Curators: Salwa Mikdadi, Mandy Merzaban, Karim Sultan.

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