Frieze Masters presents this conversation with Kamala Ibrahim Ishag and Hans Ulrich Obrist in partnership with the Serpentine (@serpentineuk). To celebrate the opening of her solo exhibition at Serpentine, Ishag returns to the RCA where she studied in the 1960s. She discusses her background, her relationship with nature and the influence of the Sudanese Zār cult on her work. A pioneering Sudanese artist, with a career spanning over 60 years, Ishag is a defining figure of modern and contemporary art. Her widely recognised paintings, where human and plant forms often intertwine, use a distinctive palette rooted in the colours of the sun, sand and sky. Her works contemplate both the cyclical flow of life and the intangible aspects of women’s lives in Sudan. This major exhibition includes large-scale oil paintings, works on paper, and painted calabashes alongside new and never previously exhibited works.
If people are really genuine with their plants and they respect their plants, they should talk to them as human, as a source of creation from God. Humans and plants, we are all the same – Kamala Ibrahim Ishag
Kamala Ibrahim Ishag was amongst the first women artists to graduate from the College of Fine and Applied Art in Khartoum in 1963, which she followed with studies in Mural Painting at the RCA in London between 1964 and 1966 and Lithography, Typography and Illustration from 1968-9. Her work bridges the earthly and spiritual through an understanding of our connections with the natural world. Hans Ulrich Obrist (@hansulrichobrist) is Artistic Director at Serpentine
Find works discussed in this episode here:
About the Frieze Masters Podcast
Exploring themes of identity, originality, geopolitics and Blackness through a historical lens, the new Frieze Masters Podcast is now available. Bringing together some of today’s most celebrated artists, art historians and curators, the podcast launches with the Talks programme from the 2022 edition of Frieze Masters – one of the world’s leading art fairs – and offers compelling insight into the influence of historical art on contemporary perspectives and creativity. Subscribe now on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
Main image: Kamala Ibrahim Ishag; Photograph: © Mohamed Noureldin Abdallah Ahmed