Ibrahim El-Salahi: the grandfather of African contemporary art

Contemporary Art stands for Art created now by living artists. There are some differences between contemporary art and traditional art. Traditional art generally focuses more on the way the artwork looks. Contemporary art is concerned with the meaning of the artwork. Contemporary art is initially hard to appreciate. However, taking an interest in Contemporary Art can be really rewarding. In this article we will look at Ibrahim El-Salahi as a contemporary artist.


Ibrahim could be considered the grandfather of African Contemporary art. He was one of the first African Artists to be recognized all over the word. The Tate Gallery (galleries are where Artworks are exhibited and the Tate is one of the most prestigious in Europe) showed some of his most successful works in an exhibition dedicated to him. His success has encouraged several young African artists to follow the same path. Since El-Salahi, African artists are becoming more appreciated and are known all over the world.


Ibrahim El-Salahi was born in Sudan in the city of Omdurman. He wanted to study medicine, but his grades prevented him, and therefore he became an artist and had a lot of success. He studied Art at the School of Design of the Gordon Memorial College, currently the University of Khartoum. Thanks to his hard work he was able to win a scholarship for Slade School of Art, one of the best in the UK. Another recognition of his great talent came when he was awarded the UNESCO scholarship to study and work in the United States. The UNESCO scholarship consists of a sum of money offered by UNESCO, an organization whose objective is to promote culture.


Ibrahim El-Salahi Art is highly influenced by his cultural background. In fact, he is one of the most important Artists in the Hurufiyya movement. Hurufiyya is an art movement that is inspired by Arabic Calligraphy (Calligraphy is the Art that is interested in the way letters look and writing in a skillful and beautiful way). Ibrahim El-Salahi is most famous for having created artworks that mixed writing and complicated drawings of plants and humans. His masterpiece “The Inevitable”, is a black and white painting in which the African and Arabic influences are obvious.




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