Drawing on his most vivid and detailed childhood memories, Salah El Mur has created an impressive repertoire of work that has been exhibited internationally. Most recently, the artist enjoyed a major retrospective at the Sharjah Art Museum in the UAE.
Salah Elmur’s visual vocabulary is nourished by his memories and his canvases are a reflection of the people, animals, sounds, smells and colours of his youth. From his most intimate relationships to the scenery of his childhood home just outside Khartoum, these memories are brought to present day through Elmur’s work.
A Cat and a Girl and The Family Portrait come from Elmur’s Kamal Photography Studio Series, named after his father’s and grandfather’s photography studio. The series celebrates the nostalgia of photography. Fascinated by the sitter’s untold stories, the artist sees a photograph as a method through which to defy the passage of time. In Elmur’s Kamal Studio series each work is set within the confines of a photography studio; his sitters starring expectantly at the viewer, preparing themselves for the moment that freezes time.
Salah’s portraits can be characterized by the stylized nature of his sitters. Elmur shows little regard for capturing the exact likeness of his subjects, focusing rather on the intimacy of their relationships and the overall ethos of the painting. Disproportionate and distorted, these Sudanese subjects vary in colour and shape and are rarely alone, often depicted amongst family or with various objects, plants and animals, the significance of which is clear to the artist but ambiguous to the viewer. The recurring presence of families and couples in Salah’s work is drawn from the importance placed on family in Sudanese culture. Salah’s portraits are snapshots into the quotidian lives of the residents of Khartoum, much as his father’s and grandfather’s photographs were.
Salah Elmur is a graduate of the College of Fine and Applied Art in Khartoum, where he concentrated in graphic design. Today, Elmur is recognised as an accomplished painter, illustrator, and photographer and is an award-winning filmmaker. Salah Elmur’s work can be found in several prominent collections including The Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden, Marrakech and the Sharjah Art Museum in the UAE.
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