The colorful recipe of a Sudanese artist

KHARTOUM (AFP) – Coffee, tea, hibiscus or even fruit peels: You might think he’s going to the kitchen, but the ingredients that Sudanese Moataz Al-Fateh collects are actually used…in his paintings!

In his gallery filled with numerous paintings representing scenes from everyday life, amid images of Sudanese in traditional clothes or abstract drawings, this 39-year-old in Khartoum is inexhaustible with his natural pigments.

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Only with the leaves of hibiscus – whose herbal tea is popular throughout Africa – the artist can paint blue, purple and red pigments.

Coffee, instead of drinking it, uses it to paint brown, beige and gold. And when he has to use black or gray in his drawings, he peels some dates to crush the pits.

To expand his color palette, he uses colors extracted from the fruits of the doum palm and chamomile, in his large desert country, Sudan, where the forest covers only 10% of the land.

For many, this is all just “food,” he told AFP. But, he continues, “we can actually draw great colors from it.”

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The painter says he has a “special vision of art” and “a special interest in natural materials”.

In order to retain its pigments, he also has what the whole world envies: gum arabic, an acacia resin that has become the main ingredient in the most famous soft drink, of which Sudan is the main producer in the world.

And if his components are unusual, so are his paintings sometimes.

During the popular uprising that toppled dictator Omar al-Bashir in 2019, he painted “Freedom, Peace and Justice” on the wall.

sequel after the announcement

With the lost time, he would have liked to give a brush stroke but this painting is on the gates of the army headquarters and he was never able to approach it again.

“I can’t do it again today, I tried but was prevented,” he said, while in October army chief Major General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan halted the march toward democracy.

Since the coup, Sudan has entered a deep political crisis, and the cost of living continues to rise.

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For Mr. Fatih, her natural pigments can help many artists.

sequel after the announcement

“They’re cheap and easy to find, and some are even free,” he pleads.

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