Salah Elmur's (Khartoum, Sudan, b.1966) work is composed of a fertile visual vocabulary that draws on his social and cultural heritage. He draws on his observations of life and memories of his childhood and youth for the scenes, situations and impressions that he depicts in his work. Heavy symbolism, a tendency towards vivid colour combinations, and distortion of natural figures and proportions are some of the markers of Elmur’s painting.

Inspired by the many photographs he has collected from his family’s photography studio, Elmur’s paintings often emulate formal portrait settings with additional elements that complement but also unsettle the mood in his paintings. Plants and animals share the frame with the human subjects, limbs are shortened and proportions are distorted, altering the relationships between various objects and figures in the frame. All these elements are combined in a somewhat surrealistic swirl of memory, and the resulting paintings are tender, intimate vignettes of human relationships, the rituals and poetry of daily life and folklore.

Salah Elmur originally studied Graphic Design at the College of Fine and Applied Art, Sudan University, Khartoum. With a career spanning three decades, he has spent years travelling and living across East Africa and the Middle East.

Selected solo exhibitions include Central Electricity and Water Administration, Vigo Gallery and Gallery 1957, London, UK (2023); Water and Electricity, Vigo Gallery, London, UK (2022); Pink Circles, Gallery MOMO, Cape Town, South Africa (2020); River Ceremony, Al Markhiya Gallery, Doha, Qatar (2019); Photos of a Cotton Company’s Workers, Mashrabia Gallery of Contemporary Art, Cairo, Egypt (2019); Fragrances of the Forest and Photos, Sharjah Art Museum, Sharjah, United  Arab Emirates (2018); The last of Domestic Rituals, Mashrabia Gallery of Contemporary Art, Cairo Egypt (2015) and Eyes Stream, Mashrabia Gallery of Contemporary Art, Cairo, Egypt (2013). Selected group exhibitions include The Oceans and the Interpreters, Hong Gah Museum, Taiwan (2022-3); The Forest and Desert School Revisited, Circle Art Gallery, Nairobi, Kenya (2022); The Storytellers, Gallery 1957, London, UK (2022); Fictions, Circle Art Gallery, Nairobi, Kenya (2021) and Forest and Spirits, Salon 008, Saatchi Gallery (with Kamala Ishaq and Ibrahim El-Salahi), London, UK (2019). 

Elmur has participated in the following fairs, 1-54 London; Art Paris; Expo Chicago; Armory Show; Investec Cape Town Art Fair; Art Dubai and Art X Lagos. His works have been placed in a number of collections such as North Dakota Museum of Arts, USA; Le Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; Minneapolis Institute of Art Collection, Minneapolis, USA;  Zeitz MOCAA Collection, Cape Town, South Africa; Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum Collection, Minneapolis, USA; The Bunker Artspace, West Palm Beach, USA; CCH Pounder Collection, New Orleans, USA; Museum of African Contemporary Art, Al Maaden Collection, Marrakesh, Morocco; Sharjah Art Museum Collection, Sharjah, UAE and Sharjah Art Foundation Collection, Sharjah, UAE.

Art Fairs
Brown Dog and Paper Boat, 2022