Mo Abdalla, Animals of Sudan

© 2004 Mo Abdalla

Mohammed Ahmed Abdalla Abbaro was born and educated in Sudan. He studied fine and applied arts in Khartoum and then went on to the Central School of Art to study ceramics, where he received his diploma in 1962. This was followed by postgraduate studies in industrial pottery design in Stoke-on-Trent, England. He returned to Sudan to teach at the College of Fine and Applied Art in Khartoum then came back to London in 1966 and taught ceramics at Camden Art Centre. He has lived in London since that time.

Abdalla began making animals out of porcelain during the early 1980s. As a child in Sudan he grew up with animals, in particular a herd of goats owned by one of his great aunts. 'All the ceramic animals I have produced,' he writes, 'have a direct connection with my childhood experiences. I made them as gentle and friendly as I nostalgically remembered my animal friends then.'

The largest of the animals is in the form of a bull. The others are more abstract in form. The animals are first modelled and a mould is made from the models. The form is cast then they are treated with stained slips and glazes and fired again. The crusty reptilian surface is created with the application of a thick slip which shrinks as it dries, shrinks further in the kiln and is sealed by the glaze.