Mohamed Abdella Otaybi (Sudanese, born 1948)
Three Figures, 2019
Signed ‘019 signature’ (lower right)
Acrylic on canvas
99.5 x 99.5 cm
Ksh 340,000 – 570,000
(US$) 3,000 – 5,000
Provenance: direct from the artist

Mohamed Abdella Otaybi graduated from the Khartoum College of Fine and Applied Arts and began working as an artist during the dynamic period of the 1970s, where he was immersed in the debates about cultural heritage and Sudanese visual identity of the Khartoum School at the time.

Long recognised as an influential figure in Sudanese art, Otaybi’s painterly language has evolved throughout his career, consolidating his reputation as a colourist. In Three Figures, 2019, layered hues, fragmentary shapes, and quilts of colour create simultaneous depth and flatness. The sense of spatial vibration adds to the mirage-like quality of his composition, in which three figures, standing in dialogue, wait for their lovers in the boat beyond.

Otaybi is also a celebrated cartoonist and illustrator, and elements of his graphic and satirical approach often translate into his paintings.

As well as holding regular solo exhibitions in Khartoum from 1970 to the present, he has shown in international group exhibitions including the Sharjah Biennial, UAE, 1993; Modernism in Sudanese Art, British Museum, London, 2004; Sudan: Emergence of Singularities, P21 Gallery, London, 2017 and Khartoum Contemporary, Circle Art Gallery, Nairobi, 2017. His work features in private and public collections including the National Museum in Sharjah, UAE. In 2018, Otaybi was the focus of the article ‘Masters We Need to Master’, Collector Magazine, Art Africa.