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Sudan Past and Present: From the Islamic Period to the Modern World
Mohamed Omer Bushara, Untitled work
This work is one of a group by the artist which are reproduced in the book Atong (Grandir Editions, 2003). This is a Dinka folktale re-told by the Dinka writer and academic Francis Mading Deng. The story concerns a beautiful Dinka girl, Atong, who marries a lion called Juach against the advice of her brothers. Yet Bushara's work does not illustrate the story, at least not in the accepted sense of the term 'illustration'. Instead the work complements and enhances the story in a far more subtle way: 'It's very difficult to say, "this work means this",' observes Bushara when asked to explain the subject of his work, 'the only way to see it is to look. Anything in the work is significant, a part of the whole, as in music. For the audience it may be good to read both visually and intellectually.'
Mohamed Bushara was born in Omdurman in Sudan in 1946. He started to draw and paint at an early age with whatever materials he could find, with the staunch support of his family. Unlike many of his fellow artists he studied geography at the University of Khartoum rather than fine art at the College of Fine and Applied Art in Khartoum. He continued to work to support himself during his spare time until finally winning a British Council scholarship in the mid 1970s to attend the Slade School in London. Since then he has travelled, lived and worked widely outside Sudan and is currently resident in the UK.
Bushara has always been more concerned with the actual process of creation rather than striving towards a finished article. His work reflects a passionate involvement with the turmoil which has afflicted his native country, Sudan, whether witnessed at first hand or from overseas.