Introducing Ahmed Umar

Interview with the participating artist
By Zane Datava

  • Foto: Ahmed Umar
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    Foto: Ahmed Umar

How would you describe the place you work/ your studio? Where is it located? What is the best time of the day for you to work?

For the moment, I am invited for a one year studio residency at Atelier Kunstnerforbundet. I work in a relatively small studio that is cosy, tidy and inspiring located in the floor over gallery Kunstnerforbundet, in Oslo. My creativity flow wakes up when people go to sleep. I am a night worker with excellence. My peak production hours lies between 23:00 and 06:00. It is challenging sometimes, but I readjust after each show.

What inspires you in your work? What is the main motivation to create?

I am profoundly influenced by my upbringing and the cultural surroundings of Sudan. .My work can be viewed as a narration of my experiences on living in a society structured around religion and strict traditions in contrast to my current free life in Europe. I question, analyse, criticise and reconstruct stories from my past, utilizing a variety of materials and processes including painting, sculpture, jewellery or performance and more. Motivated by resistance, searching for answers, I use my artwork as tools to raise awareness and promote for human and LGBT+ rights, in both Norway and Sudan.

What are the challenges you face in your artistic practice?

The process of balancing between time, economy, ambitions and dreams with the possibilities that comes along my way.

Have you experimented with other mediums? Maybe thought about working in other fields?

I am constantly eager to learn new ways of expression and communication. Between my start at KHiO and graduation, I made sure to have courses in each department at my faculty, Art and Craft. I have had training in printmaking, ceramics, metal and jewellery making, textile art and extended that to a fashion design. I also experimented in performance art and choreography. 

What exhibitions and projects are coming up for you in 2019?

Apart from HRT show and the artist residency in Ørlandet I am having these plans: -April 12: I’ll be taking part of the exhibition KNOWING ME KNOWING YOU i Künstlerhaus Palais Thurn und Taxis in Bregenz, Austria. -May 10: A solo show at KRAFT in Bergen -May-June: Artist residency in Brooklyn, NYC and a solo show at LastFrontier gallery, Brooklyn. -November: solo show at Østfold Kunstsenter.

  • Photo: Courtesy of Ahmed Umar
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    Photo: Courtesy of Ahmed Umar