Kamala Ibrahim Ishag & Hans Ulrich Obrist | Frieze Masters Podcast

Presented in partnership with the Serpentine. Episode coming soon to Spotify, Apple Podcasts and frieze.com

in Frieze Masters , Podcasts | 03 OCT 22

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 sameKamala 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: 
 

Kamala Ibrahim Ishag, Dinner Table with Embroidered Cloth, 1974 / 2014, Oil on board, 122.5 x 175 cm, Courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation Collection.

Kamala Ibrahim Ishag, Embodied Figure on Mother, 1974, Mixed media on paper, Image: 32 x 28 cm Framed: 53 x 43 cm, Courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation Collection

Cover design proposal for Wedding of Zein by Tayeb Salih, 1962

Facsimiles of murals painted by Ishag at the entrance hall of the National Museum of Sudan, 1971. 

Facsimiles of murals painted by Ishag at the entrance hall of the National Museum of Sudan, 1971.

Facsimiles of murals painted by Ishag at the entrance hall of the National Museum of Sudan, 1971. 

Kamala Ibrahim Ishag, Untitled (Zaar), 1973, Oil on canvas, 134 x 134cm, Courtesy of Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, Image courtesy of Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah

Kamala Ibrahim Ishag, Procession (Zaar), 2015, Oil on canvas, 175 x 175 cm, Courtesy the artist, Photo: Mohamed Noureldin Abdallah Ahmed

Kamala Ibrahim Ishag, Loneliness, 1987, Oil on canvas, 112 x 108 cm. This Artwork is part of the Permanent Collection of the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts.

Kamala Ibrahim Ishag, Women in Crystal Cubes, 1984, Oil on canvas, 192 x 185 cm, Courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation Collection
 

Kamala Ibrahim Ishag, Women in Crystal Cubes, 2014, Oil on canvas, 130 x 87 cm, Amir Daoud Abdellatif and Reem El Roubi

Kamala Ibrahim Ishag, Lady Grown in a Tree, 2017, Oil on canvas, 139.7 x 139.7 cm, Courtesy the artist
 

Kamala Ibrahim Ishag, My Plant 1, 1998, mixed media on canvas, 217 x 343 cm, Courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation Collection

Kamala Ibrahim Ishag, My Plant 2, 1998, mixed media on canvas, 215 x 196.5 cm, Courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation Collection

Kamala Ibrahim Ishag, Two Trees, 1982, ink on paper, Image: 13 x 16.5 cm Framed: 38 x 41.5 cm, Courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation Collection 

Kamala Ibrahim Ishag, Four Faces of Eve, 2016, oil on canvas, 104.5 x 104.5 x 5 cm, Courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation Collection

Kamala Ibrahim Ishag, Two Women (Eve and Eve), 2016, oil on canvas, 205 x 190 cm, Courtesy the artist, Photo: Mohamed Noureldin Abdallah Ahmed
 

Kamala Ibrahim Ishag, Composition, 2016, Oil on leather drum, 44cm diameter, Courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation Collection
 

Kamala Ibrahim Ishag, Composition, 2016, oil on leather drum, 44cm diameter, Courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation Collection

Kamala Ibrahim Ishag, Left to right: Reflection of a Tree, Two Figures with a Tree, Plants, 1973 / 2016, Oil on wood, Courtesy the artist

Kamala Ibrahim Ishag, Left to right: Man with his tree wife, Figure, Reflection, 1973 / 2016, oil on wood, Courtesy the artist.

 

Kamala Ibrahim Ishag, Peacock Woman, 2015, Oil on canvas, 130 x 130 cm, Courtesy the artist, Photo: Mohamed Noureldin Abdallah Ahmed

Kamala Ibrahim Ishag, Two Figures in Two Balls, 2016, Oil on canvas, 139.7 x 139.7 cm, Courtesy the artist

 

Kamala Ibrahim Ishag, Composition, 2016, Oil on leather drum, 44cm diameter, Courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation Collection

 

Kamala Ibrahim Ishag, Blues for the Martyrs, 2022, Oil on canvas, 203.2 x 299.7cm, Courtesy the artist, Photo: George Darrell

 

Kamala Ibrahim Ishag, Composition, 2016, Oil on Calabash-ball surface, 50 x 45 x 45 cm, Courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation Collection

Kamala Ibrahim Ishag, Composition, 2016, Oil on Calabash-ball surface, 40 x 40 x 40 cm, Courtesy Sharjah Art Foundation Collection

Kamala Ibrahim Ishag, Bait Al-Mal, 2019, Oil on canvas, 200 x 300 cm, Courtesy the artist, Photo: George Darrell
 

 


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

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Main image: Kamala Ibrahim Ishag; Photo: © Mohamed Noureldin Abdallah Ahmed 

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