Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

Who Are You Calling an African Artist?

Morgan Quaintance examines the careers and personal stories of two artists, visionary modernist Ibrahim El-Salahi and contemporary free-thinker Meschac Gaba.

This summer, Tate Modern has opened its doors to Africa, dedicating an entire wing to two of the most important artists working today: 82-year-old visionary modernist Ibrahim El-Salahi and contemporary free-thinker Meschac Gaba. Writer and curator Morgan Quaintance discovers their extraordinary personal stories, and a struggle for recognition that spans six decades.

Studying at the Slade in the 1950s, Ibrahim El-Salahi returned home with a crate full of modern art, to meet a stony faced public in Sudan. Reconciling the language of modernism with the culture of his heritage, he found a powerful new way to express the dreams and ambitions of African independence. It was to lead to imprisonment, exile and eventually freedom.

Yet El-Salahi, along with Africa's modern art tradition, has been ignored by the museums and institutions of the West, to the shock of Meschac Gaba, arriving in Amsterdam on a scholarship in 1996. His response was to create his own Museum of Contemporary African Art - an idea for a museum that did not yet exist.

30 minutes


Role Contributor
Presenter Morgan Quaintance
Interviewed Guest Ibrahim El-Salahi
Interviewed Guest Meschac Gaba
Series Editor Janet Lee
Director Jude Ho


  • Wed 24 Jul 2013 22:00
  • Wed 24 Jul 2013 23:20

BBC Arts

BBC Arts

The best of British art and culture at your fingertips