Amani Elabden (1984) -- Mixed Media
My earliest memories are as a young child, spending my time drawing and trying to make shapes using whatever material was available to me, even if that material was plain mud. At primary and high school I remember always being caught by my teachers, distracted by drawing in my workbook.
When I was 16, I managed to get my work published in a national newspaper, where I was publicised as the first female newspaper caricaturist in Sudan. This drew a lot of interest and I was interviewed by national newspapers, the interest in my work boosted my confidence, and consolidated my belief and determination to make my contribution to society through art.
In 2001, I secured a place at Sudan’s College of Fine and Applied Art and as my understanding of the various disciplines of fine art grew. I decided to specialise in sculpture.
I also continued to publish newspaper caricatures throughout my time at university and found myself working with the written word in the form of poetry and the comedic descriptions that accompanied my caricatures. I graduated with a B.A. in Sculpture in October 2005.
After graduating, I worked for two years as a journalist, drawing newspaper caricatures, and in 2007 I established my own gallery and studio in the centre of Khartoum, which is where I currently work from. I have organised a number of exhibitions, including taking part in many group exhibitions.
I also find great enjoyment in striving to improve my work as an artist and with open-mindedness I regularly take part in artists’ workshops.
Finally, I believe that the endeavour to create art is not all about me, it is also about my community and those around me, and so I often participate in community and charity projects and events.
Since 2001, I have participated in a total of 8 caricature exhibitions in Sudan and abroad and 53 solo and group painting and sculpture exhibitions around Sudan. My work is also owned by private collectors in Sudan and overseas.
2010: Sculpture and painting exhibition at the Rashid Diab Arts Centre
2009: Sculpture exhibition at the British Council
2008: Solo sculpture exhibition at the French Cultural Centre
All of the following were conducted in either Khartoum or Omdurman, Sudan:
2011: Poetry Workshop at the British Council
2011: Violence against Women Workshop with the Artists’ Union of Sudan
2010: Marketing Workshop with UNIDO (The United Nations Industrial Development Organization)
2010: Production Design with UNIDO (The United Nations Industrial Development Organization)
2010: Role of Artists in National Elections Workshop at Bayt al-Funoon
2008: Artists and Social Change Workshop with the Sudanese Youth Union
2011: “Relief on Khartoum’s Streets” for the Khartoum Company of Urban Development 2009: From March to May, a series of caricature drawings for television programmes broadcast by the Sudan Television Corporation 2009: Illustrations for an educational booklet about the general elections for the Babikir Badri Scientific Association for Women’s Studies 2008: Theatre set design and construction for a play at the National Theatre in Omdurman, Sudan
2011: “Relief on Khartoum’s Streets” for the Khartoum Company of Urban Development
2009: From March to May, a series of caricature drawings for television programmes broadcast by the Sudan Television Corporation
2009: Illustrations for an educational booklet about the general elections for the Babikir Badri Scientific Association for Women’s Studies
2008: Theatre set design and construction for a play at the National Theatre in Omdurman, Sudan
2007: Newspaper article (in Arabic). “The Environmental Situation in Jebra District, Khartoum” in “al-Khartoum”.
2005-2007: Editing for a weekly newpaper article (in Arabic) The satirical "As I wish" in Alam Elazkia" newspaper.
2000-2010: I have had caricatures published in the following Sudanese newspapers:
"Alam Elazkia" newspaper, "Alayam" newspaper, "Caricateer" newspaper, "Elkora" sports newspaper, "Elsada" sports newspaper, "Elsoper" sports newspaper, "Tasali" newspaper, "Zoal" newspaper.
Additionally, I have been interviewed by the majority of Sudan’s newspapers at different times, who have covered my work as a sculptor and cartoonist, and who have also been interested in my story as the first female caricaturist in Sudan.
2006: Awarded a Certificate in Design (Photoshop and InDesign)
2002-2005: Awarded a 2:1 Bachelor of Arts degree in Sculpture from the College of Fine and Applied Art, Sudan University of Science & Technology
1999-2001: Secondary education at el-Barari Secondary School in Khartoum
1990-1998: Primary education at Buri Primary School in Khartoum
Developed through education and work experience, I would describe my strongest working skills as:
- Multitasking effectively in high-pressure situations
- Media handling and marketing
- Stage and television presentation and performance
- Creative writing skills, including dramatic and satirical poetry writing
- Fund-raising for charitable campaigns (e.g. with organisations in support of orphans and shelters for the elderly)
For over 4 years, I have been based in my own gallery and studio in central Khartoum, which I have decorated and maintain personally.
This is a space for me, and other artists, to work in and present our completed work, and for me to hold meetings related to my work and interviews with the press. More than just this, in the evenings it is a place for people to drink coffee and speak freely with each other in a relaxed but diligent atmosphere.
When I have a spare moment I enjoy reading, both fiction and non-fiction in Arabic and in English, and when I have the opportunity I find acting highly rewarding. I also take great pleasure in both listening to music and playing drums, which I often perform live on stage with a women’s drumming group.
Membership of professional association
- Arab Cartoonists’ Society
- Sudanese Caricaturists’ Society
- Sudanese Female Plastic Artists’ Society
- Sudanese Journalists’ Union
- Sudanese Plastic Artists’ Union
- Sudanese Sculptors’ Society
- Sudanese Youth Union
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