The Khartoum School started in 1960, shortly after Sudan declared its independence from the United Kingdom. This group of artists helped create an artistic identity for a new, independent Sudanese republic. The Khartoum School adapted an avant-garde modern art framework for a postcolonial context. They combined it with local artistic traditions and Arabic calligraphy.
The Khartoum School drew upon Sudan’s deep historical connection with Islam and with Sufi Islam in particular. They were influenced by hurufiyya, the global movement that combined Arabic calligraphy and modern art.
Artists like Ibrahim El-Salahi helped establish Sudan’s national identity after independence. El-Salahi established the country’s first Ministry of Culture but he was later accused of anti-government activities, imprisoned, and exiled to the United Kingdom.
Image: Ibrahim El-Salahi, Reborn Sounds of Childhood Dreams I (1961-1965). Enamel paint and oil paint on cotton. 2588 × 2600 mm.