Kamala Ibrahim Ishag

This autumn, Serpentine presents a major exhibition of pioneering Sudanese artist Kamala Ibrahim Ishag (b. 1939) organised with Sharjah Art Foundation in collaboration with The Africa Institute. The exhibition at Serpentine South in London will take place from 7 October to 29 January 2023.

Ishag has forged a unique and expansive practice which is not defined by a singular style or movement. Her work embraces and expresses different earthly and spiritual landscapes and histories of Sudanese visual culture across many eras. The artist also roots her practice around subjects including women, spiritualism, Zar ceremonies, plants and stories from her mother and grandmothers in relation to how she has experienced them.

The exhibition celebrates the breadth and importance of Ishag’s work and offers London audiences insights into her worlds, featuring works spanning from the 1960s to today, including her time in London studying at the Royal College of Art (RCA) from 1964-66, in addition to new paintings created in her Khartoum studio that have previously never been presented. Alongside large-scale canvases and works on paper, Ishag also paints on different surfaces such as calabashes, screens and leather drums. A selection of the artist’s graphic design practice and material from her personal archive will offer context to her prolific career and experiences of living and working predominantly in Sudan, in addition to a shorter period of self-exile in London and Muscat, in the Sultanate of Oman for part of the 1990s and early 2000s.

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