Artistic encounters
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Abubaker Elsharif

Abubaker Mustafa Elsharif Visual Artist

Abubaker Elsharif is a Sudanese mosaic artist whose quest is to fill public spaces with mosaic art and make sure that the art form and its symbol of democracy grows in popularity in Sudan.

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Abubaker Elsharif
Visual Artist

The artist

Abubaker Mustafa Elsharif is the pioneer of mosaic art in Sudan, specialised in painting on glass and creating portraits on mosaic. He holds a BA in Fine Arts from the Sudan University of Science and Technology (SUST).

Mosaic art is neither very popular nor widely available in Sudan. This is something Abubaker wants to change. Since 2010, he has been teaching mosaic techniques to students and amateurs. His aim is to spread the mosaic art form as widely as possible and make sure it receives the recognition it deserves.

For Abubaker, mosaic art is not just aesthetically pleasing but reflects the very process of democracy. His artistic inspiration derives from the daily life of the Sudanese society, especially the different types of suffering people have gone through. He believes that artistic articulations can be a helping hand in solving the present social problems over time. 'The artist, through whatever medium he selects, is a pioneer. There is a kinship between visual artists that passes through the generations. It creates a message which carves a path', he says.

Mosaic art in particular is well-suited to fulfill this task, Abubaker argues. Its use of fragments that are being molded together to create a complete image, reflects a process of harmonisation which, in Abubaker's eyes, encompasses human life and all its experiences. For Abubaker, this process also reflects democracy. The construction of mosaic pieces involves an inclusive process of many individuals coming together to create something beautiful. In this way, Abubaker views mosaic art as a democratic art form and something that can be taught to everyone. He also wants his works to be visible for everyone; not placed in galleries or reserved for a selected few.

'I live my life in all its details through my art. The Mural is the oldest expression of human civilization, etchings on the wall were a form of expression and constituted a safe space that is visible to all and which is democratic and reaches people from different social backgrounds'.

By combining both ceramic and glass in his works, Abubaker innovatively distinguishes himself from other mosaic artists. He uses his artistic practice to tell a story that bears a social and political message. Through representing historical figures in mosaic art, he tries to capture important moments in Sudanese history and immortalise their contributions in creating a healthy society. This entails a careful selection of the figures he painstakingly puts together in his works.

Abubaker has participated in many exhibitions and art festivals inside and outside Sudan, especially in Tunisia where they are specialised in working with stone within mosaic art. He has also held numerous courses and workshops in mosaic art for both children and adults, as well as courses in painting on glass and on technologies related to recycling glass material.

In the video interview (in Arabic) by Bleu Nile TV below, Abubaker demonstrates his art practice and speaks warmly about his mother being his inspiration and fuel in life, and how she used to skillfully nurture, support and motivate his creativity. The other video by Al Arabi TV shows Abubaker's uniqueness, both in pioneering the mosaic art and the artist's outstanding capabilities to combine mosaic, glass and stone to create stunning pieces. The documentary also shows a Nubian civilisation related mural and its cultural representation.

All images/videos used on this page are copyrighted by the artists, unless stated otherwise.
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