Kamala Ibrahim Ishaq

My Birth Place (Bail Al-Mal), 2019
Oil on canvas, new commission

Kamala Ibrahim Ishaq’s early interest in the work of the English painter and writer William Blake, in particular his exploration of spirituality and incarnation through the sublime power of poetry, resonated with her own contemplation of spirit possession practices by Sudanese women known as Zar. This unlikely convergence lead to the development of central themes and styles that run through her oeuvre. Such influences can be seen in the distorted faces and figures of women in her paintings that are mostly rendered in dark monochromic tones of brown. She has since moved on to explore other themes—the plant world that has become a rich source for new forms and compositions witnessed in her most recent paintings. The work Bait Al Mal (Treasury House) refers to the neighborhood in Omdurman where she grew up, located in the old part of Omdurman that used to be the capital of the Mahdist state in the 19th century.

Text by Salah Hassan
Co-Commissioned by Lahore Biennale Foundation