Art Dubai

Booth C11, Dubai International Financial District, 29 March – 3 April 2021

Salah Elmur (Sudan, b. 2966) and Souad Abdlrassoul (Egyptian b. 1974)

We are pleased to be showing at Art Dubai Contemporary with exciting new paintings by Salah Elmur and Souad Abdlrassoul.

Salah Elmur (Sudanese, b. 1966)

Elmur’s work is composed of a fertile visual vocabulary that draws on his social and cultural heritage. He draws on his observations of life and memories of his childhood and youth for the scenes, situations and impressions that he depicts in his work. Heavy symbolism, a tendency towards vivid colour combinations, and distortion of natural figures and proportions are some of the markers of Elmur’s painting.

Inspired by the many photographs he has collected from his family’s photography studio, Elmur’s paintings often emulate formal portrait settings with additional elements that complement but also unsettle the mood in his paintings. Plants and animals share the frame with the human subjects, limbs are shortened and proportions are distorted, altering the relationships between various objects and figures in the frame. All these elements are combined in a somewhat surrealistic swirl of memory, and the resulting paintings are tender, intimate vignettes of human relationships, the rituals and poetry of daily life and folklore.

Salah Elmur originally studied Graphic Design at the College of Fine and Applied Art, Sudan University, Khartoum. With a career spanning three decades, he has spent years travelling and living across East Africa and the Middle East and has participated in group and solo exhibitions in East Africa, the Middle East, Europe and America since 1985. Elmur has also published 12 children’s books and is a successful filmmaker; directing six short documentaries and fantasy films, which have been shown at international film festivals. In February 2018, the Sharjah Art Museum in the UAE held Fragrances of the Forest and Photos, a retrospective of Elmur’s work, followed by Forests and Spirits, an exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in London alongside two luminaries of Sudanese modernism, Kamala Ishaaq, and Ibrahim El Salahi. He participated in a group exhibition at the British National Museum and his work is collected widely and is included in the permanent collection of the Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden (MACAAL) in Marrakech, the Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF), Seitz MOCAA, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Weisman Art Museum and the Pompidou Centre, Paris.

Souad Abdlrassoul (Egyptian, b. 1974)

Souad Abdlrassoul currently lives and works in Cairo. Her artistic practice spans various media; drawing, painting, sculpture and graphic design.

Working between the abstract and figurative, she connects human and animal figures to the Earth believing we are a part of it. Her metamorphosed figures do not seek to depict physical beauty but attempt to reflect on the connections between the human race and the natural elements of life; earth, metal, animals and plants. Tree-like figures with branching veins and arteries, and giant insect-like creatures merge on her canvases to remind the viewer of the vital bond between our internal lives and the exterior world we live in. Abdlrassoul re-conceptualizes the way we perceive space and re-purposes notions of form, science and nature into something strikingly personal, she exalts in the feminine, the emotional and nature. Throughout her work, she tells stories, sometimes using myths and legends that we recognise, to draw attention to how women are forced to evolve and grow in an environment that is oppressive and that restricts the life choices. She questions the role of women in society and cultural history in an unusual and disruptive way.

Abdlrassoul graduated with a BFA in 1998, completed her master’s degree in History of Art in 2005, and in 2012 she completed her PhD in Modern Art History. Since 1998 she has exhibited frequently in group and solo exhibitions in Cairo as well as shows in Nairobi, Beirut and the USA. She has also exhibited at international art fairs in London and Marrakech. She is also an illustrator children’s books, and conducts artistic workshops for children in Cairo.