Salah Elmur (Sudanese, born 1966)
Iris Flower, 2020
Signed ‘S.ELMUR 2020’ (lower left)
Acrylic on canvas
60 x 89.6 cm
Ksh 570,000 – 900,000
(US$) 5,000 – 8,000
Provenance: private collection

Salah Elmur’s work is composed of a fertile visual vocabulary that draws on scenes, situations and impressions recalled from his life, reaching back to childhood. Inspired by the many photographs he collected from his family’s photography studio, Elmur’s compositions emulate formal portraits, with additional elements that complement but also unsettle the mood of his paintings. Plants and animals share the frame with human subjects, limbs are shortened and proportions are distorted, altering the relationships between various objects and figures. These elements are combined in a somewhat surrealistic swirl of memory, and the resulting paintings are tender, intimate vignettes.

Elmur studied Graphic Design at the College of Fine and Applied Art, Sudan University, Khartoum. With a career spanning three decades, he has participated in group and solo exhibitions in East Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and America. Elmur is also an acclaimed illustrator and filmmaker, having composed and illustrated numerous children’s books, and directed six short documentaries and fantasy films which have been shown at international film festivals. In 2018, Elmur was the subject of a major retrospective at the Sharjah Art Museum in the UAE, called Fragrances of the Forest and Photos. This was followed the same year by Forests and Spirits at the Saatchi Gallery, London, showing alongside two luminaries of Sudanese modernism, Kamala Ishaaq, and Ibrahim El Salahi. His work is collected widely and is included in the permanent collection of the Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden in Marrakech, The Sharjah Art Museum and the Sharjah Art Foundation.