Sudan Arts and Architecture


In Sudan the traditional box-house, on a rectangular or square layout (bayt jalus), with a flat roof, made of pure clay or mud dried in the sun, of bricks or with plaster made with cow excrement (zibala), continues to be the dominant typology; wood is present exclusively in the roofs, doors or windows (examples in Omdurman, a city built in 1885 and which retained its original appearance until the 1960s). The modern aspect of the capital Khartoum is due to the reconstruction promoted by Lord Kitchener at the beginning of 1900, which lasted until 1912, carried out after the destruction of 1885: a variety of styles imported from abroad, of colonial influence. Only after independence did interest in an autonomous architectural and artistic language begin to emerge in Sudan ● Alongside Islamic culture, institutional, in the Sudan there are many ethnic groups and still vital languages, ancient cultures and craft techniques; on this substratum the contact with the Western world, which began with the Anglo-Egyptian domination, had substantial effects: the institution, by the English, of a drawing school in Khartoum, in 1945; the completion, mainly in London, of the training of many Sudanese artists who, returning to their homeland, have dedicated themselves to teaching. Since the 1960s the exponents of the so-called Khartoum School have tried to express their dual identity, African and Islamic (A. Šibrayn, who works on Arabic calligraphy; I. al-Ṣalāḥī, who mixes figurativeness and calligraphy; M. ‛Abd ancient cultures and craft techniques; on this substratum the contact with the Western world, which began with the Anglo-Egyptian domination, had substantial effects: the institution, by the English, of a drawing school in Khartoum, in 1945; the completion, mainly in London, of the training of many Sudanese artists who, returning to their homeland, have dedicated themselves to teaching. Since the 1960s the exponents of the so-called Khartoum School have tried to express their dual identity, African and Islamic (A. Šibrayn, who works on Arabic calligraphy; I. al-Ṣalāḥī, who mixes figurativeness and calligraphy; M. ‛Abd ancient cultures and craft techniques; on this substratum the contact with the Western world, which began with the Anglo-Egyptian domination, had substantial effects: the institution, by the English, of a drawing school in Khartoum, in 1945; the completion, mainly in London, of the training of many Sudanese artists who, returning to their homeland, have dedicated themselves to teaching. Since the 1960s the exponents of the so-called Khartoum School have tried to express their dual identity, African and Islamic (A. Šibrayn, who works on Arabic calligraphy; I. al-Ṣalāḥī, who mixes figurativeness and calligraphy; M. ‛Abd of a drawing school in Khartoum, in 1945; the completion, mainly in London, of the training of many Sudanese artists who, returning to their homeland, have dedicated themselves to teaching. Since the 1960s the exponents of the so-called Khartoum School have tried to express their dual identity, African and Islamic (A. Šibrayn, who works on Arabic calligraphy; I. al-Ṣalāḥī, who mixes figurativeness and calligraphy; M. ‛Abd of a drawing school in Khartoum, in 1945; the completion, mainly in London, of the training of many Sudanese artists who, returning to their homeland, have dedicated themselves to teaching. Since the 1960s the exponents of the so-called Khartoum School have tried to express their dual identity, African and Islamic (A. Šibrayn, who works on Arabic calligraphy; I. al-Ṣalāḥī, who mixes figurativeness and calligraphy; M. ‛Abd which mixes figurativeness and calligraphy; M. ‛Abd which mixes figurativeness and calligraphy; M. ‛Abd Allah, potter; A. Nūr, in complex installations; R. Diyāb combines calligraphy, Koranic verses, folkloric motifs; and furthermore, K. Ibrāhīm Ishāq; M. Bušāra; AM Abū Šarī‛a).

CINEMATOGRAPHY

Sudan’s first film institute, Sudan Film Unit, was founded in 1952 in the south of the country by two directors, Gadalla Gubara (also known as Jadalla Jabarra) and Ibrahim Chaddad, with the aim of mainly producing educational documentaries. However, the first Sudanese feature film was made in the north of the country in 1968 by Rachid Medi (also known as Rashid Mahdi), who made ‘Amal wa aḥlām, also known as Hope and dreams (1968), a melodrama inspired by Egyptian cinema. In 1970 a state institution for cinema was established (Mu᾽assasat al-dawla li᾽l-sīnimā), which until 1992, when the institute was dismantled, dealt with distribution and censorship. Although its debut took place before the conquest of the country’s independence (1956), Sudanese cinema struggled to develop. Indeed, since the mid-1960s, the country’s political life has been marked by coups and military regimes; this instability was aggravated by the persistence of a long-standing southern question, which later resulted in a civil war between the North, inhabited mainly by Arab-Muslim populations, and the South, populated mostly by Christian blacks, or animists. In these difficult conditions, directors such as Anouar Hachem, author of Conflit fratricide (1971) and Riḥlat al-῾uyūn, also known as Le voyage des yeux (1984), have worked, where the schemes of Egyptian melodrama are re-proposed; and G. Gubara who with Tajouj (1982), set on the hills of the Red Sea among the nomadic population, made the first feature film shot in the black South of the country. Gubara then directed Viva Sara (1988) and Barakat al-šayḫ! (1999, The blessing of the shaykh). Among the other directors, the names of Ibrahim Chaddad stand out (al-Ǧamal, 1980, The camel; al-Ḥabl, 1984, La corda; Insān, 1994, The man) and Taïeb al-Mahdi al-Tahiri (al-Ḍarīḥ, 1977, Il sepolcro; al-Maḥaṭṭa, 1989, La stazione): two authors with an original style, who have been able to transform unsustainable situations linked to everyday life into dreamlike and grotesque expressions. Finally, among the documentary directors, Ali Abdel Gaoum, Souleiman M. Ibrahim and Sami Saoui should be mentioned.

Sudan Arts and Architecture

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