Salah Elmur’s work is composed from a fertile visual vocabulary that draws on his observations of life, returning to 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. Furthermore, Elmur introduces 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, growing shyly from the body, 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 resulting in tender, intimate vignettes of human relations.
Salah Elmur originally studied Graphic Design at the College of Fine and Applied Art, Sudan University, Khartoum. With a career spanning three decades, Elmur has participated in group and solo exhibitions in East Africa, the Middle East and Europe and America. Elmur has also published 12 children’s books, and is a successful film maker, directing six short documentaries and fantasy films which have been shown at international film festivals. In February 2018, the Sharjah Art Museum in the UAE held Fragrances of the Forest and Photos, a retrospective of Elmur’s work. Most recently, Elmur’s work was featured Forests and Spirits, an exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in London alongside two luminaries of Sudanese modernism, Kamala Ishaq and Ibrahim El Salahi. In May 2019, Elmur had a solo exhibition at Circle Art Gallery in Nairobi entitled Studio Kamal. His work is collected widely, and is included in the permanent collection of the Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden (MACAAL) in Marrakech.