Circle Art Gallery, Nairobi, Kenya 29 Jun 2022 - 30 Jul 2022
Mohammed Otaybi, Untitled (Flying Girl), 2018
Circle Art Gallery presents Mohamed Otaybi first solo exhibition in Kenya with 25 paintings from the last decade.
Mohammed Abdella Otaybi (Sudanese b. 1948) graduated from the Khartoum College of Fine and Applied Arts and began working as an artist during the dynamic period of the 1970s in Sudan. He was immersed in the debates about cultural heritage and Sudanese visual identity of the Khartoum School at the time. Many of these debates are still significant in Sudan today, the combination of Africanism, Islam, Arabism and Sudanese identity.
Long recognised and acclaimed as an influential figure in Sudanese art, Otaybi’s painterly language has evolved throughout his career, consolidating his reputation and strength as a colourist. Architectural and decorative motifs and calligraphic forms populate his paintings. Layering hues to create depth and vibration add to the mythological and dreamlike quality of his paintings, which reference a cultural past. Otaybi is also a celebrated cartoonist and illustrator, and elements of his graphic and satirical approach often translate into his paintings.
Since the over throw of the Government in 2018 and the continued protests and an attempted coup in 2021, the Sudanese people have suffered and demonstrated for change and artists have been at the forefront of this activism. Otaybi’s gentle romantic images of life, nature, music and a heritage that combines Islamic symbolism and a modern multicultural way of life in Sudan, speaks of this and resonates with people across the world.
As well as holding regular solo exhibitions in Khartoum, North Africa and the Arab world 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.