Sunday, 22 May 2016 14:57

Sudan's Mohamed A. Wahab rekindles his love affair with watercolour

“Already as a child I was fascinated by illustrations in books.”

Mohamed A. Wahab’s love for art started at an early age. He grew up in Sudan surrounded by an artistic family. His maternal grandfather is Ibrahim El Salahi, a leader of the Sudanese Khartoum School and the first African artist to have a retrospective at the Tate Modern in London.

Back in the 90s, in Sudanese society, however, studying art was - and still is not - considered a very respectable field of study that will lead to a ‘proper job’ and Mohamed’s family took some convincing to finally enrol him in the College of Modern Art in Khartoum.


A rich career

Mohamed A. Wahab did exceptionally well in his art studies, whilst also receiving a degree in graphic design. The talented young artist held his first art exhibition in 1992 while still at university, showing drawings and paintings. After graduation he was employed as a designer of presentations and art consultant at the Sudan Ministry of Industry.

Mohamed worked in graphic design and web design and as lecturer before moving to Saudi Arabia and then to Kuwait in 2002 to establish the Graphic Design Department at the Arab Open University. Today he is the Head of the Department, designing books and educational materials.

He loves using design applications, working with colours and shapes. It is when he comes home from work, however, that he paints. Other hobbies include playing the violin, the piano and the Arabic lute.

His artistic beginnings in painting were with watercolours during his studies at college, moving on to acrylics and abstract art after graduation - leaving behind many of his watercolour skills.


Returning to his first love

Three years ago, Mohamed returned to his first passion, sketching and watercolour, and vows ‘never to leave it again’.  

“I can’t believe I abandoned it for so long, it was a mistake... Now I love it even more and my skills are all coming back. It makes me very happy to paint with watercolour.”

“I still have a lot to learn, but I feel I have something to say, stories to tell which flow the moment the brush touches the paper. I feel it very differently from other mediums. Watercolour allows me to fully capture the dynamics and the atmosphere of everyday life scenes. I want to leave my mark using watercolour.”

With his second child born in March, the creative father enjoys painting indoors as much as outdoors and also loves photography. He still returns to his native Sudan regularly to - as he says - ‘enrich his soul’ with its vibrant culture and many languages.

He always takes a lot of photographs to later paint from as a reference. He takes them from specific angles which let him relive what he felt while there.

“It is very sad, what has happened to Sudan. It is such a beautiful, multicultural country with such striking and varied landscapes - offering endless scenes for my paintings. I am glad I am able to share them through my art with others.”


Upcoming exhibitions

“I believe people are starting to take watercolour more seriously as a medium, accepting it as a complete ‘personality’. It has become more than a means for sketches to come to life.”

“Watercolour is a wonderful and very powerful tool of artistic expression and can easily compete with other mediums.” the painter enthuses.

Kuwait has a lively art scene which has welcomed him warmly and Mohmaned says he has many kind and talented friends there.

However, watercolour is not used much in Kuwait or Arab countries in general. Wahab is currently planning his first exhibition in Kuwait to make this art form more widely known and to share his passion for it.

He is also very active in the Sudanese art scene and has recently been appointed Head of the International Watercolour Society Sudan (IWS Sudan). An exhibition of the winning works from a recent online competition by IWS is planned by the Society for October in Dubai. 


Mohamed A. Wahab can be contacted via Facebook (Mohamed A. Wahab, artist, Sudan) or his page Abdulwahab Watercolor Painting or via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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