Khalid Abdel Rahman is a fine artist based in Khartoum, Sudan. According to The Arts Council of New Orleans, who hosted last summer the exhibition A Disappearance, he « has a highly distinctive signature style of abstract architectural scenes of middle class neighborhoods in Khartoum. Documenting a middle class that is slowly disappearing due to either working with the government or leaving the country searching for a better living situation. The brightly sad coloring of these empty neighborhoods reflects the reality of a disappearing class and people. Like a surreal scene from a memory you saw in a dream. » Nothing to add… The talented artist has humbly accepted to open up to Scribouille.
Scribouille: Khalid Abdel Rahman, tell us, who are you?
Khalid Abdel Rahman (K.A.R.): I was born in Khartoum in 1978, and I started my career as a serious artist seven years ago with a first solo exhibition at the French Cultural Center, and I have been working full time on developing my practice since then.
Scribouille: Being an artist, becoming a painter, was it obvious to you?
K.A.R.: No, I guess no, it wasn’t obvious, although I have felt that urge to create for as long as I can remember, I spent a large portion of my life hesitating and searching for the courage to take myself seriously.
Scribouille: I’m not an art critic but, personally, what I like about your work is that you put poetry in an insignificant daily life. I hope you take this as a compliment! Where does this sensitivity come from?
K.A.R.: Of course I took it as a compliment! That’s what I am trying to convey through my work, nothing is insignificant, nothing is ordinary, it is all extraordinary or that’s how I experience the world sometimes. I don’t know where it comes from, Maybe it’s natural, maybe I caught it from artists I admire, or a combination of both, I don’t know exactly.
I have felt that urge to create for as long as I can remember
That’s how I experience the world sometimes. I don’t know where it comes from…
Scribouille: Is it easy to be an artist in Sudan these days?
K.A.R.: No, it’s not easy, and I think that’s how it is everywhere, not just in Sudan these days.
Scribouille: I know you have participated to the Sudan Untold/Retold’s project. What can you tell us and how did you experience this adventure?
K.A.R.: It’s a collaboration of 20 artists created and led by artist Khalid Albaih, and it’s about retelling some of Sudan history. I participated in it by illustrating seven characters from the first known Sudanese book in Arabic. The characters I illustrated lived during the Blue Sultanate (500 years ago) which you pictured some of its traces in modern Sudan like Om Dawanban and other traditional schools and Sufi sects.
Scriboulle: Thank you Khalid. I hope to see your artwork exposed in France (and elsewhere) soon.
K.A.R.: Thanks to you Hervé. Your questions made me think about a lot of things. All the best.
(Pictures & Paintings by Khalid Abdel Rahman)