Three Questions to the Artist: Amel Bashir Taha

Amel Bashir Taha

Amel Bashir Taha, a Sudanese fine artist, was born in Port Sudan and raised in Jedda, Saudi Arabia. After studying Interior Design in Khartoum, she started exhibiting her own style of sensual black & white compositions and illustrations in 2007 – finally following her passion for painting and drawing she had cultivated since she was a little girl. A married mother of two, she currently lives in Khartoum with her family.

Her art was chosen for the cover of Issue 1 of Women in Islam, published in 2014.

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Your paintings generally depict women in rich, elaborate ornamentation, with an air of distinctive beauty and symbolic value. What is your motivation for drawing women and how do you perceive them?

My art is motivated by feelings. I observe that although women have achieved some freedoms, like freedom of movement, access to education and work, their existence is still disadvantaged and social perceptions about them are unfair. Men maintain a privileged status. It strikes me that in different historical periods women had a better status than today. I try to portray women in their own kingdoms– queens of the ancient Nubian kingdoms in the Sudanese context. The images I conceive in my paintings are expressions of female beauty, strength, and a lofty status of women within the broader Eastern context.

In which way is your art inspired by your religion?

I think my religion influences my art in several ways. Firstly, I believe that Islam as a religion at its core treasured women and assigned them a well-recognised status, so I show the beauty and power women possess. Also, my compositions have Islamic features in patterns of decorations.

What’s behind this particular piece?

For me, the painting is self-explanatory and the feeling is clear. But I am keen to know the thoughts and feelings the scenes and aesthetics of my art inspire in others. I consider those to be part of each painting.

Well Amel, we were touched by the sensual beauty and power of this scene. It tells us of women, past and present queens. Tenderly cupping her hands around an egg – the archetypal symbol for the beginning of all life and renewal through birth and rebirth - she holds a symbol of the earth and the matrix of life, leaving no doubt about her status.