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Salah Elmur: Central Electricity and Water Administration | Gallery 1957

March 15–May 10, 2023 | London, United Kingdom

Gallery 1957 and Vigo Gallery are proud to collaborate on a joint exhibition and publication of monumental new paintings, set across both London galleries, by Cairo-based Sudanese artist Salah Elmur (Sudan, 1966). Central Electricity and WaterAdministration will be the artist’s second solo show with Gallery 1957 following An Anniverary presented in Accra in October 2021.

For Elmur, “Water and Electricity”, the elements necessary for life in the modern world, capture memories real and imagined, and hark back to the magic of his childhood in Sudan. They are our most valuable, precious resources and the infrastructure that has been built around these elements symbolises for him Sudan’s modern history and our potential as a species. He uses the imagery of water and power production as a vehicle to absorb and reinterpret memory, place and history.

The Pink Swimmer, 2022 | Courtesy of Gallery 1957

“I still remember the bill collector knocking on the door. And I see the water tanks. Towers made of cement; high rises loaded with water that break the sky... These beautiful buildings touch my heart and soul.” – Salah Elmur, 2022

When the Central Electricity and Water Administration came knocking on the doors of his village as a child, Elmur was filled with wonder and excitement at the company’s plans. Within the structures that house water and distribute electricity, the artist sees stories, shapes, and feelings. He talks of fisherman, bathers, communal celebration, sustenance, anthropomorphic visions, fear and hope, money and power, fantasy and folklore.

Painter, filmmaker, and author Salah Elmur is known for his colourful, symbolic portraits of Sudanese life. Described as nostalgic and surrealistic, Elmur’s paintings are recognised for their vocabulary of tilted perspectives and visual distortion, as well as his emblematic inclusions of plants and animals. Many of Elmur’s works draw on childhood memories of visiting his grandfather’s photography studio. His work also tackles topical socio-political issues: The ongoing Innocent Prisoner series, first exhibited in 2021, concerns the history of incarceration in Sudan since the 1960s. He has made six short films in the genres of documentary and fantasy, winning the jury prize at Ethiopia’s Images That Matter film festival in 2010 for Heaven’s Bird. Elmur graduated in 1989 with a BA in Graphic Design from the Sudan University of Science and Technology. His previous exhibitions include solo presentations at the Sharjah Art Museum (2018), and the Sudanese National Museum, Khartoum (2006), and the artist’s work can be found in many important private and public collections, from the Centre Pompidou, Paris, to the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Opening Reception: Wednesday 15th March | 5-8pm

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Salah Elmur: Central Electricity and Water Administration | Gallery 1957

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