Born in Khartoum, Sudan, Islam Zian Alabdeen studied Applied Arts at the University of Sudan. He spent the years following study exhibiting extensively in his native country and Europe, and developing workshops for adults and children.
A contemporary painter, Islam produces colourful romantic abstracts in oil on canvas. Filled with depth and detail, his works are all inspired by the awesomeness of nature. Islam’s works immediately capture the eye and the mind. His works are living snapshots of humanism in which human beings, whether men, women or animals, meet, cross paths, watch or simply see each other in their natural environment, surrounded by all kinds of everyday objects : table, glass, vase, dish, bicycle. Moments of day-to-day life, freeze frame are anything but trivial in this apparent simplicity, but on the contrary, a daily homage to mankind. Women are omnipresent in Islam’s work, ambassadors draped in diaphanous clothes, discreet and modest, yet their presence is fully recognised and essential. Although his characters’ expressions are not void of nostalgia, they often carry themselves proudly, the quintessence of simplicity and grandeur. This is how Islam transcends his ever-present maternal and ancestral culture – that of Nubia – and his viewpoint can very often be considered universal.
He was represented by Lahd Gallery for the first time in 2011 in Rediscovering Sudan – the first exhibition of its kind in London, together with fellow Sudanese artists Iman Shaggag, Sana Elbashir and Abdelwahab Nour. In 2013, London’s Tate Modern first ever retrospective dedicated to a contemporary African artist took the art world by surprise in El-Salahi: A Visionary Modernist.