Documenting a middle class that is slowly disappearing due to either working with the government or leaving the country searching for a better living situation taking the perilous journey across the Mediterranean. The paintings and drawings evoke and traverse geographies of Sudan, the deserts of Libya, the expanse of the sea, all from the vantage point of an emptying Khartoum looking out at the world for its people. The brightly sad coloring of these empty neighborhoods reflects the reality of a disappearing class and people. Like a surreal scene from a memory you saw in a dream.
“I always think of my artwork as an extension of the old local sufi poetic tradition that values the eye of contentment or the good eye that sees beauty in everything, with this concept in my mind I take daily walks to look at my surroundings and take photos and sketches and then I go back to the studio to produce the final result, usually a simple drawing with soft and oil pastels on paper. My goal in this body of work is to celebrate the local and the ordinary and hopefully to inspire those who look at my art to take a careful look at things around them.”
Rahman’s exploration of displacement, forced migration, and who and what is left in its wake lends itself to a necessary discussion between New Orleans and East Africa. What do the forces that compel thousands of Black people to risk death by drowning in Mediterranean to make it to Europe have in common with the forces that trapped thousands of Black people in a flooding city in 2005? What are the implications for a city that is less 100K Black people and a world that makes the sea more dangerous for Black migrants every year? All politics are local and all Black lives are materially linked to one another.
A DISSAPEARANCE :KHALID ABDEL RAHMAN
NEW ORLEANS, LA
CURATED BY: KRISTINA KAY ROBINSON AND KHALID ALBAIH