[Ṣalaḥī, Ibrāhīm al-]
(b Omdurman, 1930).
Sudanese painter. After studying at the School of Design at Gordon Memorial College in Khartoum (1948–51), he worked as an art teacher at Wadi Seidna Secondary School near Omdurman. In 1954 he was sent on a scholarship to the Slade School of Fine Art in London, and while in Europe he visited Florence to enhance his knowledge of Renaissance art. In 1957 he returned to Sudan and became head of the Painting Department at the College of Fine and Applied Art in Khartoum. In 1962 he was sent by UNESCO on a tour to the USA, South America, Paris and London. After returning to Sudan, he searched for a Sudanese artistic identity by travelling throughout the country recording local architecture and designs used in the decoration of such items as utensils and prayer rugs. He also explored Coptic manuscripts, trying to discover the arts of African Sudan through them. During this same period he became fascinated by the ingenuity of Islamic art. His previous knowledge of Coptic manuscripts led him to experiment with Arabic calligraphy, which he saw as both a means of communication and a pure aesthetic form. In the 1950s he was one of the first Arab artists to include Arabic calligraphy and signs in his paintings. After political imprisonment in his country he lived in exile in England and Qatar, where he was an adviser on communications to the Emir. Working in all media, he defined his Arab–African heritage by synthesizing Arabic calligraphy with African forms. His work is in collections in New York (Met.; MOMA), Melbourne (N.G. Victoria), Newcastle, NSW (Reg. A.G.) and Berlin (Neue N.G.)....