Design in Sudanese Plastic ArtsSun, 16 Apr 2017
Professor/ Sulaiman Mohamed Abdulla
Professor of Arts and Folklore, Sudan University for Sciences and Technology
In the course of this study, it reviews the traditional and modern plastic patterns that echo the progressive dimensions of the Sudanese culture represented in its plastic artistic designs in terms of power, originality, development, sophistication and progress. Here lies the importance of the paper, especially, when we recognize that art, with all its forms, is the embodying container where all the cultural achievements accumulate at both the Sudanese theoretical and applied level and human and practical level, whether at the level of the ancient world or the modern contemporary world.
The researcher adopted the historical descriptive analytical methodology to study the hypothesis suggesting that using design in the plastic art, with all its elements and components, is the mirror that reflects the most important dimensions of the Sudanese culture, while displaying origination and development up to the present time, as the aim of this paper.
• Factors Influencing the Sudanese Plastic Art:
• Concept of Design:
• Some Important Bases and Elements of Design:
• Definition of Art:
• Forms of Sudanese Plastic Art:
• Modern and Contemporary Sudanese Plastic Art:
Plastic art is one of the most important standards of civilization in its connection to the vestige of the human civilization by which one can recognize the man’s creative capabilities at the level of time, place and all available environmental factors. There rose in Sudan the oldest, greatest, most powerful and most sophisticated civilization known by the ancient, modern and contemporary world, as well. It contained quite a lot of instinctive intellectuality and applied theory which exemplified various artistic patterns that revealed high and distinctive capacities in terms of design and implementation. It is worth knowing that the Sudanese civilization was never ever isolated from the world’s other civilizations, nevertheless, it was and still has a permanent link with those affecting and being affected. It is in a status of give and take all over the world with its countless potentials and capabilities in communicating with others.
Background on Sudan
Sudan is an African country by virtue of its geographical location in the African continent. It is, as well, one of the Arab countries as it forms part of the map of the Arab World. The fact being so, it falls under the banner of African Union and a member of the Organization of African Unity. Climate graduates from North to South and from East to West and varies from desert to semi-desert, to Savanna Poor and Savanna Rich. This graduation is followed, according to the vegetation, by a graduation of dispersed grass and short trees to other long trees and dense forests to, sometimes, no trees, especially in the dry desert areas. This topographical graduation leads to a graduation of the quantity of the rain fall from rare to heavy seasonal rains. The soil, also, varies from sandy, mixed and mud, it is pervaded by creeks, seasonal valleys, hills and mountainous heights which prevail in some places, for example, Arkaweet in the East and Jabal Mara in the West where the climate is semi- Mediterranean. River Nile runs through it with its two big branches; White Nile and Blue Nile. This helped in practicing conventional productive activities including agriculture, grazing and reaping gum arabic, and it is dominated by subsistence and commodity economy, in general. Naom Shugair (2007, P. 22-45).
In presence of the rain fed agriculture, pasture is divided into two kinds that pivot around breeding camels, sheep and goats. Beside the mechanized agriculture practiced in some areas, large modern irrigated agricultural schemes were set up in Jezira and Managel and there are some other small irrigated schemes. Naom Shugair (2007, P. 22-42).
In addition to these conventional productive activities, there are modern ones in both public sector and private sector. Sudan is a producing country as it has rich and diverse economical sources whether on the surface or under the ground, in addition to availability of the productive power, labor force and active technical labor experiences dedicated to work and production.
Hence, a very old civilization, very remote in time, existed in Sudan and it was teeming with its unique artistic designs in terms of creativity, power of imagination and achievement. The history of Sudan can be divided, in general, into old and new by virtue of the domestic culture influences and foreign influences. Sudan received many human, cultural and civilizational migrations which had been inflowing and settling in a dramatic and consecutive way. Thus, it formed its historical generations that sprang off the marriages by the migrating parties from all parts of the world, especially, those who came from the inland of Africa and Arabian Peninsula in Asia and also, those who came from Europe. In this way, it formed its hybrid social fabric and combined culture. The Sudanese plastic art with its different designs, is nothing but that cross fertilization, models and civilizational and cultural fusion between alien and domestic (Abdul Majeed Abdeen, 1967, P. 7-15).
Factors Influencing the Sudanese Plastic Art:
There are several fine factors and influences which interweaved and formed the Sudanese plastic art. They can be primarily spelt out in the environment with their natural and human aspects and summed up as follows:
1/ Natural Factor:
This is manifested in the topographical diversification, naturally including climate and soil. Moreover, it is clear apparent from the effect, its ecological reality that controls the movement of the Sudanese person and his different conventional productive activities that arise from his diverse creative abilities. His talents and abilities are outstanding in adapting natural raw materials and forcing them to answer his living needs and abilities. Consequently, nature and its physical outcomes were directly intervened by the Sudanese man who harnessed them for his own benefit. He controlled them and exploited them to the extent to be able to build his civilization which was recognized by the world for its power and being pilot in many aspects of life. Kingdoms and tribal and clan systems had risen and left a lot of vestiges, and great cultural holdings are still admired today (Naom Shgair, 2007, p 22-130).
2/ Social Factor:
Social factor is the human activity, especially, the Sudanese man, in this respect. Within his own setting, he was able to launch the Sudanese civilization to which all successive generations have contributed throughout history since pre-historical time until now. There existed one day the Kushite groups and Nubian kingdoms (Karma and Napata) and Kingdom of Marawi which dominated all parts of Sudan and still the archeological discoveries are going on to real in different parts of Sudan and to get acquainted with their civilizational vestiges represented in plastic arts, social systems, productive methods, means of subsistence and their domestic and foreign relations. It needs more research, archeological discovery, exertion of big efforts, constant work, patience and persistence to highlight its signposts and make them known (Ahmed Elias Hussein, 2012, p 140-209, 150-245).
The old and new Sudanese groups were able to produce all the pre- divine religions and add all the new religious effects, starting from the Christianity era all along to the Islamic conquest and spread of Islam. furthermore, Arabic language had been associated with arrival of Arabs before Christianity and it influenced numerous Sudanese languages spoken by different Sudanese groups and were supported by Islam. Consequently, many Arabic dialects prevailed, especially, after Arabic became the official language and language of learning in the country. (Yusuf Fadul Hassan, 2014. p8-10).
Divine religions, particularly, Christianity and Islam, largely influenced the formation of the Sudanese civilization and introduced many plastic art symbols and terminology of plastic arts whether when it was associated with the international religious centers or after the collapse of the religious centrality and the rise of Islamic petty countries, specially, after the emergence of what had been known in the history of the plastic art as the Christian art styles and schools and trends of Islamic art. The Sudanese modern plastic art schools emerged and benefited from its local cultural heritage and added to it detection of the modern European schools of art after study, assimilation and benefiting from such arts in the area of search for the Sudanese cultural identity. This movement was maintained by the national liberation movement against colonization and contribution to strengthen the national government after independence, in addition to contribution to development of Sudanese life and cultural progress, especially, after introduction of modern educational schools and introduction of plastic arts to the educational institutions starting from the pre-school education up to institutes and faculties of art. Consequently the study of the plastic art has become one of the important cognitive areas to refine talent, help to attain self- expression and match with the plastic arts at the world level. In consequence, the Sudanese artist and the Sudanese plastic arts have become a big figure that cannot be overlooked after it deservedly proved its existence and has started to be first and gained advanced ranks internationally.
Concept of Design:
Design is the composition; meaning constructing, building or finding what is new and innovative.
Consequently, composition is formation, so, we understand that the word “form” means to compose, that is bringing a number of objects and creating a relationship between them and merge them so that they will be interdependent, interrelated, coherent and consistent and achieve a benefit or certain utility that will be the desired objective and aim. The realized objective, in this case, and the aim we got to gain in the end represents the actual value of the produced work which is the design or formation (Magid Dyab Alzubair,2012, P. 46).
In Arabic, the relationship between the two terms denoting composition and plastic art conforms in terms of meaning and creative significance, whether concerning taste, utility, employment or direct use. The objects which we use in what we want to produce or create are the components and they are called the components of design; the element is the outcome of the component and a tool and means of production.
Design or plastic is divided into two types each with specific characteristics that make differentiation between them easy, clear and necessary. The first type is the two dimensional design; length and width. It will be in a form of a flat shape like a piece of paper, surface of a table, surface of cloth or the surface of the wall and other things. The second type is three dimensional didacticism. It consists of length, width and height or, sometimes, depth. It is a mass around which you can walk or rotate or enter into, such as the cubic, room, ditch, pipe, tree or man or something like that. The three dimensional design can be expressed through the two dimensional design by watching, using perspective theory or by what is known these days by optical illusion which is a mathematical geometrical and physical theory that says “ any two parallel lines go towards the horizon and the distance between them is fixed and they do not practically meet, but they come closer to each other and the distance between them narrows as they go forward in front of our eyes until they meet at the far horizon at a point called vanishing point, because the earth is spherical. The same is true with the telephone poles, railroad rods, buildings, electrical poles and other. Therefore, sizes become smaller, lengths become shorter and equal distances become gradually and regularly narrower, then details vanish and colors and shadows overlap. This is a rule used by plastic artists, architects and planners of cities, streets, roads and bridges, and so on.
Design Elements and Components:
They include all the materials and subjects needed to build or produce a thing that is not existing, but we need it and want to obtain it or possess it instantly, temporarily or permanently and continuously, as in making tea or food, for instance. In case of making tea, we need water, tea, sugar, boiler, fire, glass, strainer, spices such as cinnamon, cloves, mint, cardamom, ginger, milk and anything that helps us in making tea.
All these are components we put together in certain quantities to get tea, but its color, taste, flavor, coldness and hotness and the pleasure, enjoyment and other effects we get from drinking it, on our body generally, including soothing feeling or headache are all elements. So is for the work of plastic.
For instance, painting is the materials and subjects that should be prepared to make the plastic painting. They are the inputs, but what we attain in form of beauty or physical or moral benefit are its artistic plastic elements which impose fundamentals and rules of building and composing the artistic design (Laila Mukhtar Ahmed, 2012, p 63-71).
The main source of various types of design is the nature teeming with animals, birds, plants, solids, organisms, colors, sky, rains, clouds, diverse designs and compositions and other. Note that nature contains the main colors; red, yellow and blue, and the other secondary colors; rainbow colors which consist of rainbow or what is called rain. They are the derivative colors by which light is made and vision is obtained. It is the result of mixing and blending the primary colors with each other.
Their tones are not limited: infinite, like, green resulting from mixing blue with yellow. If the blue is predominated by yellow, we get yellowish green, and if the blue predominates, we get bluish or turquoise. If we add red to yellow, it will be reddish green, and so on with the other derived colors derivative colors which can be recognized from the color circle, such as orange which is the result of mixture of red and yellow, and violet resulting from mixture of blue and red. The main masses are, also, found in nature with their different forms, such as cubic, spherical, conical, hierarchical and cylindrical, where we can get all the geometrical lines and shapes, like the circle, square, rectangle, triangle, spiral line, strait line or curved line.
Design or plastic art develops in three areas: outer shape or appearance which we see, the purport or the essential theme which makes the subject it expresses and the style which mirrors the method followed by the artist in producing the artwork and it is referred to as technique or the manner in which he treats the raw materials he uses in designing and joining them based on certain design fundamentals and rules depending on his imagination, memory and creative capacities. Such components are: (Majid Dyab Alzubair,2012, P. 46-52).
a/ Color: it is the fall of light bands (total spectrum) on the surfaces of objects and their reflection on the retina and what it cannot absorb is the color we see.
Therefore, the things and objects we see differ from one person to another on the color tones of the same object. We call it, sometimes, color blindness, in addition to many sensory implications existing in the same scenes.
Hence, the value and importance of color and its symbolism and implication are dependant on mood diagnosis and psycho-therapy. Color has implications and meanings concluded from several experiments conducted on humans throughout their different age periods to identify their propensities and inner psychological makeup (Mahmoud Basyuni, 1992, P. 46).
b/ Calligraphy: is a moving point in a certain size towards a certain direction producing a thick line, fine line or intermittent line. It gives the type, name, value and advantage of calligraphy, and aspects of its uses. Calligraphy may be straight, winding, descending, vertical, horizontal, curved, circular or spherical. It may have implications and meanings by which you can read the human personality and identify some of his personal dimensions. There is a calligraphy that indicates strong personality, boldness and courage. Some indicate shaky personality, fear, hesitation and weakness in taking decisions and lack of self-confidence. Others indicate emotional tendencies, violence, boring, insularity, precaution or tolerance. It is also made use of in sciences and academic knowledge, as Geometry, Geography, Drawing, painting, Decoration, Medicine, Biology, Mathematics, Physics, writing and movement, in addition to areas of games, politics and different aspects of life.
c/Mass: Mass includes all the three dimensional maquettes and formations. They are linked to size, weight, place, vacuum space or area.
d/ Area: represents space or the vacuum surrounding mass, in addition to everything which has two dimensions made of length and width or surrounded by a line delineating the outer borders or its frame.
c/ Raw Material: the materials needed by the designer to compose his artwork using his creative abilities in connection to his artistic talent in accordance with design fundamentals and rules.
f/ Light and Shadow: it is known that there are correlation between light and shadow; it is of a geometrical character from natural perspective. The dark color indicates the shadow on the opposite side of the light. The use of this physical property can be expressed in the natural reality, especially, in the field of drawing. You can get the delusional expression of the third dimension of the design by using it. You can obtain this by the perspective theory to attain a specific artistic and creative value of the artist in the context of expression of his thought or his artistic theme.
g/ Form: nothing but the appearance of things, whether realistic or abstract or using them symbolically to express a certain idea or a subject related to the artist’s thinking and feelings in his relationship with others (Hussein Gumaan, 2008, P. 8-174).
h/ Theme: the theme is the idea whose content is the artwork or the message which the artist or the designer wants to convey to other. The theme, no matter how short it is, will be one of the basic pillars on which the artwork is based to achieve the desired goal from the production of such work. The theme is related to the amount of knowledge exchanged between the producer and the public who receives his art. Furthermore, the common experiences including the tools, employing them, repetition, analogy and all the tricks and methods used by the artists to shape his creative raw materials and prove his ability and skills in creativity (Aleyah Abdeen, 2002, P. 87).
Some Important Bases and Elements of Design:
It means the amount of the value or the benefit which the artist or the recipient of the artwork, who interact with it, can get from the artwork. They include the fundamentals and rules he uses to achieve the value and advantage aimed at in his artwork; it is of a more moral character than a sensory character. Such rules and fundamentals are such like balancing between many components of design, amounts of materials and raw materials used in designing, areas covered by the colors of all types and the ratio between mass and space, or vacuum or the relationship between them or the inner relationship between the parts and components of mass itself, in a way similar to the scales. This creates a feeling of stability, consistency and integration and results in the success of the artwork, whether from the symbolic indicative aspect or a simplified scientifically and technologically developed abstract aspect. This is what Suha Abdul Ghaffar (2005, P. 134) articulated: “ balance includes relationships between weights and any decoration or design arrangement must give the feeling of stability and balance. If things become balanced in human beings, as in weights, colors and values will balance. Examples of things we feel like weights are: dark spaces, specially in two – dimensional design. Although you cannot achieve such balance by only using a set of rules, the artist can achieve that with his deep feeling and integration in the artwork. See, also, Nagmeldin Mohamed Shareef (1971), P. 63-71) who states: “ Therefore, design elements represent rules and laws and values inferred by design or the plastic artwork which add up to its function and necessity to practice it to achieve the use-expressive aspects from both ascetic and utilitarian point of view.
Design elements, also, transport pleasure which leads to achievement of ascetic elation obtained by practicing artwork or using it during his life functions. It may be emotional or intellectual or a mere advantage and it may provide such a great psychological relief for one when one finds in the artwork the delicious taste, good smell, nice flavor, clarity or fine or coarse texture, or movement with all its streamline constantly continuous forms in terms of ascent, descent, violence, quietness or prevalence in the sense of the control over the idea expressed by the artwork. On the other hand, dissimilarity, competition, harmony, disharmony or extension towards a direction, whether inward, outward, to the depth, proximity, distance, beauty, response, suggestion or expressing reality as it is or conceptualizing it, or modulating, changing and modifying it by interfering, or admiration, hatred, rejection, accept, sadness, gladness, joy and other hidden feelings of human and his subjective and objective requirements. Added to this, is the unity between all components of design, such as shapes, lines, masses, spaces and continuance of relation to show the strength of the relationship between part and whole in terms of their consistency and diversity and determination of the necessity of repetition or non-necessity.
Repetition may cause monotony and boredom, and may, sometimes, restrict regularity, or regular, gradual irregular or radial rhythm. Achievement of unity is an important element in design. It is most important principle of its ascetical success. Unity can be achieved by the artists through the relation between two opposites or two remote components. This is known by “ unity of opposites conflict” such as white color and black color, death and life, long and short and so on. That was ascertained by Abdulfattah Reyad (1989,P.45) when commenting on configuration in plastic arts :” achieving unity and harmony is important in design and is considered the most important principle of its trend from the ascetic point of view. Unity does not mean the similarity between all parts of the artwork. There may be many differences, but these parts must come together and become a coherent whole. Unity is achieved in design when the designer succeeds in achieving two basic considerations; the first: the relation between part and part, the second; the relationship between part and whole and vice versa.
Definition of Art:
Art is design and vice versa and both are plastic. Though the term “plastic art” has become to be used to indicate drawing and painting, but, in fact, it includes any other creative artwork besides the art of drawing and painting.
Consequently, using it in the way we see today, even at the level of scientific communities is only metaphorical use agreed upon as idiomatic only. Configuration in the sense of design or composition is met in different creative areas. In the drama, in general, we find configuration of the actor’s movement, and different kinds of sports depend on the configuration of the human body or animal used in the sports. In music the configuration of the sound produced by the musical instrument, rhythmic instrument or human, for instance in singing and dancing. In the poetry, the basis is the configuration of the word in addition to other interior components. In military forces, they step to make formation or step to organize, in the field of sweets and drinks, a person orders one kilo of mixed up sweets or a cocktail juice (mixed) juice of guava, or coffee mixed with milk is called French coffee. Even what we see in bird flocks or aircraft fly in different formations in the sky, and other types of formation or configuration in the sense of design or art.
The expression “plastic art” Says Khalid Khugali Ibrahim ( 2015, P. 29) is normally used to mean fine art, whether graphic art, plastic or architectural. This word is used, also, with the art we use in our daily life, such as applied art or decorative art.
Plastic art is the image that pronounce the promotion of man to realize beauty in the contained shape. Some people believe this term was given to fine arts only, while this word was used ( during Renaissance in Europe) when it was divided into fine art and applied art. This division no longer exists because of the technological progress which completely did away with the difference. What was not produced by machine and called fine art, now is possible to be produced by machine or computer. That means all plastic art patterns can be applied by machine today with the development of technology; the fact that used to cause difference between plastic works. Also, art was divided, especially during the period of the European feudalism, into elegant and fine art like the drawing, painting, music, dancing and poetry that belongs to leisure class; landlords. The other is the art of the lower class of peasants and laymen. It is degenerate despicable art, seen by the ruling class, as the blacksmithing, carpentry and handicraft. Now, the plastic art is divided into two dimensional design and three dimensional design after the disappearance of all previous differences as the result of the huge technological development witnessed by the world and used in the production of the artwork whatever its type or value is. This is what Khalid Khugali said and, also, added: “ The plastic art is considered an expression in a fine architectural form where relations between lines, spaces, colors and types of consistency and contrast and adherence which represent the relationship of man with the universe and perception of his vales concisely and skillfully. Generally, plastic includes design, painting, building, sculpture and their branches”.
Alghammash (2009, P. 7) asserts that art, in general, and the mural painting, in particular, is indivisible part of the successful architectural vision, though architecture considers color as an aim to substantiate the architectural character of the elements of the building as a continuation of the structure which does not differ. The mural painting plays its role in the unity and cohesion of the architectural design as prime target.
But, besides dividing into two types; two dimensional design and three dimensional design in terms of configuration and creativity, people who are concerned with is study divide it into a visible spatial art such as figuration and architecture, and audible temporal art, such as music and singing, and kinetic, such as drama, dancing and sports in terms of content. Art, as perceived by Earnest Fischer (1971, P. 12) is the ability to self- question in a way to make man capable of expressing himself and his surroundings in a dimensional, auditory or kinetic form. They can be used by man to interpret his inner feelings and conflicts. They are necessarily an expression of his life needs, though some scientists believe that arts are a need for life, as water and food . therefore, they include: everything related to drawing, painting, sculpture, intaglio, pottery, carving and painting and design on different foundations ( stones, paper, metal or digital net etc…) to obtain an artwork in two dimensions or three dimensions that gives a functional aestheticism, whether using heritage or modern technological artistic knowledge, skills and topics (Ramadan Alsabbagh, 2003, P. 287).
It is worth mentioning to indicate the multitude of the definitions of the term “art” in sense of configuration or design which was not known until the middle of eighteenth century. That is what Khalid Khugali Ibrahim enlightened assisted by the definition of Encyclopedia Britannica which mentions that: “ It signifies using visualization and skill to find beautiful outcomes or formulation of emotional experiences or creation of climates characterized by aesthetic sense. Encyclopedia Encarta defines it as: an outcome of the human creative activity which uses physical and non-physical means to express ideas, emotions and human feelings; they are the total means used by the artist to inspire feelings and emotions and they are considered as one of the most important and successful means contributing to transfer a civilization to others (Khalid Khugali, 2015, P. 28).
In spite of the multiplicity of art definitions, it could be defined, in general, in its relation to design or configuration in the sense of composition, as every creative new and innovative work or unrepeated work that is purposeful, significant and valuable and depends on imagination to achieve the aesthetic, utilitarian and functional value.
Art, in this since, is the big accumulating container in which all civilization achievements are heaped at the level of thought, work or individual or collective feeling which man assumes to express himself and his community as being social individual. So, it is one of the most important judgment of civilization and a means by which we can identify the level of progress or backwardness of any human group whenever, wherever and however it was living or is living now. This fact makes the artist a social and civilization leader. Therefore, they say “ The artist is the product of his environment both naturally and socially. He comes from it and by means of it and for it he produces his art. (Alsabbagh, 1996,P. 35) and (Mukhtar El-Attar, 2000,P. 154).
Thus, we can say art is a social action. It expresses the social conscious of the artist in terms of the social point of view towards the world, his relationship and attitude. It is subject to a conscious design ideology in a way and method of his thinking and sense of his surroundings. That is it expresses the artist’s and his society’s ethics, philosophy, emotions and psychology, according to Abdulrahman Awad Allah (2012, P. 47) commenting on the function of art and saying “ Art in the traditional societies of limited technology, besides its multiple functions, performs and imports spiritual function aiming at strengthening and deepening the religious, magical and ritual force among the individuals of the society. Art has artistic ways and motives that give it artistic distinctive characteristics. It is a kind of conscious and purposeful human activity characterized by high ability and skill of creativity to produce a useful and pleasant artwork. Art is nothing but a dimensional expression and historical heritage registry that represents peoples’ reminiscence. It is their mirror that reflects all their habits, traditions, cultural values inherited through generations, their philosophy of life that includes their methods of living, social systems, technological capacities and orientation personality. (Muhsen Mohamed Atteya, 1997,P.13).
This made many researchers say: if art is not accepted by the society of the artist who produced it, we are not having an artwork. It carries his history, ideas, his cultural conscious, social existence, economical activity, religious belief and all ways of his life.
If we took this fact for given and embark on studying the Sudanese civilization with all its old, modern and contemporary dimensions, we must know its arts to understand it and indulge in it to recognize all its details and inputs and understand and perceive its artistic design components. We comprehend its cultural expressive values and size and standard of the creative capacities of the plastic artist who contributed to its Sudanese existence in relation to his personally.
Forms of Sudanese Plastic Art:
Sudanese plastic art is indivisible part of the design achieved by man in the world. Its history is the history of the Sudanese civilization which is one of the most ancient civilizations in the world. There is much literature about the Sudanese plastic art, whether by itself or through study and analysis of the African art, particularly, ancient Egyptian art, by way of the historical linkage between the ancient Sudanese civilization and ancient Egyptian civilization.
It is worth mentioning that both civilizations influenced each other, taking into account their relationship with civilizations of East Africa, particularly, Ethiopia and neighbors and civilizations of North East and Central Africa, particularly, the area of Western Desert in Libya and Atlantic countries such as Mali, Nigeria, Congo, Lake of Chad and areas of Negroid, dwarfs and Bantus in each of Zaire, Uganda and Kenya, in addition to South Africa and countries of Indian Ocean.
Notwithstanding such external effects on the art of ancient Sudanese civilization, a number of Sudanese historians, archeologists and plastic artists affirmed that Sudanese art has its own characteristics ensuing from its plastic and environmental components and sources. Some artists specialized in sculpture, pottery, decoration, architecture, writing, drawing, design and painting, which are the most items and components of design, affirmed, based on the study in Sudan, that it had its own character. One of these is Ahmed Eltayeb Zein Elabdeen in his unpublished writings in English language, translated by Sulaiman Yahia (2004, P. 3) and published in the “Adwaa El- Sudaina’’ paper in three continuous series. Also, his unpublished scientific paper in English language translated also by Sulaiman Yahia (2009, P. 55) and published in “Magalat El-Khartoum”. In those writings he established the African character of the Sudanese art, in Marawi in North of Sudan or Angesna area in the South where he found Marwyan pottery in four archeological sites on a mission that consisted of of a group of professors of Department of Archeology in Khartoum University, in cooperation with National Antiques Authority. The mission was commissioned by Department of History in the Blue Nile University at the five hundred-year anniversary of Sennar Kingdom. The mission found a large quantity of Marawi pottery displayed in a special section of the gallery set up by the University.
This confirms that this area was part of the Kingdom of Masrawi with its borders that extended to west of Sudan (Kurdofan& Darfur) where the Marwian pottery carvings were, and some other relics were found in North Kordofan, especially, in Nuba Mountains, Wadi Hur in North Darfur, Niala in South Darfur and Nyala and Jabal Moon in the furthest East Darfur.
The industry of pottery and earthenware had been known in Sudan since the stone age and continued until today practiced in different parts of Sudan. This industry was connected with Nilotic decoration, carvings, burning with fire and use of lime colors, particularly, black, red and white. Several writers and researchers of different scientific specializations mentioned pottery industry in Sudan, including archeologists, historians and plastic artists. They found huge quantities of archeological pottery collections which were produced during the historical period extending right throughout the human age in Sudan. Those writers and researchers included Samya Besheer, Abdulrahamn Abdullah, Tawor Adam Kuku, Layla Mukhtar Ahmed, Fuzy Osman Mustafa, Mohamed Khalid Dafallah, Haydar Abdulgader Abbakar, Aida Mohamed Ali, Jack Renold, William Weyay Adams, Salah Omer Alarif, Abdulaziz Abdulghani, Ahmed Mohamed Alhakim,lmahadi, Abdulmageed Abdulraman, Elmunzir Mohamed Ali Ibrahim, Mubarak Babekir El –Rayeh and other national writers and researchers and foreigners who wrote about the art of the Sudanese civilization, particularly, the Sudanese pottery art. Regarding the sculpture, the first engraved pieces in Sudan were found, as in other countries, and also large and small statues of laymen and in particular, kings, queens, Kandakas, birds., animals, especially, Nubian rams, gods, monks, serpents, carvings and different protruding and sunken objects among which is Marawi Language (Ahmed Altayeb Zeinelabdeen (1994, P. 55)
This is in addition to the pyramids which were in the cemeteries of Sudanese Pharaohs. Colored pictures depicting people practicing their productive activities, especially, agriculture on the banks of the of the Nile making offers and living their lives were drawn on the walls and interior corridors of the pyramids.
They belied that that the king will come back to life once again and he can be able to watch, after his soul returns, people practicing their normal lives. They believed in resurrection and eternal life after death. In addition, there were the huge religious temples with pictures of monks, priests, Pharaoh kings and queens who were visited by Greek kings.
There were, also, statues sculptured or incarnated in form of pinched or protruded sculpture and paintings that tell their victories and the conquer of their enemies, there were also, the art pieces made of iron, bronze, copper, glass or gold (Samya Besheer, 1999, p 2). Moreover, there were large quantities of colored beads, toiletry, kohl pots, vessels and productive tools. Many of such artworks are displayed in the National Museum in Khartoum and other museums in different parts of Sudan.
The production of such models continued and developed in terms of the components and artistic elements accommodating all rules of the two dimensional and three dimensional designs. All these were done with high standard of all fundamentals and rules of creativity. It reflects all aspects of life of the Sudanese society right through that time and historical stages using the natural raw materials available in the Sudanese environment that teems with items including stones, minerals, flowing water, forests, plains and rains. It, also, reflects the uniqueness of capacities and creative talents of the man of that historical era extending from pre-historical time to the take-over of Christianity which, in turn, added much to such arts and plastic arts as a divine religion benefiting from what had been existing and practiced in the form of arts belonging to a great ancient African civilization rooted in the depths of history. This needs conducting big artistic research that may help acquiring modern and branching scientific knowledge . it embodies a big civilization and art heritage that could be a source of inspiration of creativity, especially, in the field of the plastic arts. Christianity added to those old historical new plastic terms such as church with its internal and external artistic accessories represented in architecture, cross, monks, nuns m pictures of Virgin, her child Jesus and pictures of crucified Jesus, in addition to emergence of the Marawi pottery with its drawings, decorations, lines and bright cheerful colors and different types spread over different parts of Sudan, in addition to costumes and clothes which were introduced by Christianity (Abdul Majeed Abdeen, 1997, p 24-26)
Modern and Contemporary Sudanese Plastic Art:
This period starts with the arrival of Islam and its spread in Sudan (Abdlmageed Abdeen, 1967, p 57). It is the second Period of dividing Sudan into two primary stages through which we can study the history of Sudanese civilization. The fist is the old stage extending from pre-historical time to the coming of Islam and its spread in Sudan.
The second includes the subsequent period which is considered as a natural extension of the previous period since the arrival of Islam after Christianity up to this date. It includes the modern and contemporary Sudanese history. This period went through the development of the Sudanese plastic art beginning from the tribal art with its traditional form through the amateur and talented plastic artists parallel to emergence of the religious school, which is the base of education in Sudan. The period of emergence of diacritical writing and Merion, like Jiha, cat eyes, builders, tailors and skilled laborers who did not study plastic art, all the way down to art at schools were associated with the beginning of modern education or introduction of schools to Sudan. Plastic art was taught first at Gordon Memorial College (currently, Khartoum University) at School of Design; one of its schools at that time. Carpentry, blacksmith, drawing and painting were taught. Then it was moved by Greenlo to Bakht Alruda at Duaim in 1932. It remained there until it was moved oncee again to be a nucleus of the Polytechnic Institute in Khartoum under the name “ College of Fine & Applied Art. Then the Secondary School of Art was established and its students were admitted to College of Art (Ahmed Amer Jaber, 2016, P. 17-68).
With the progress of the education curriculums in Sudan, Art became a subject taught among other subjects. It had its syllabus, books and teachers. It was, also, a requirement in the Sudanese secondary Schools certificate with its different specialization lines so that whoever is interested in studying Art may join the Fine & Applied Art College which is one of the faculties of Sudan University for Science and Technology which contributed to establishment of teaching Art in other faculties of Sudanese university. This contributed to the development of the plastic art and the Sudanese artists and foreigners from other countries who joined the universities for studying. The Sudanese plastic art has become known internationally after it had achieved a big reputation all over the world countries. The college has started to grant bachelor, master and Ph.D. A number of its graduates obtained professorship. One of its graduates obtained professorship. He was the first to obtain this degree in the world; professor/ Mustafa Abdu Mohamed Khair.
The Sudanese plastic artists partook in the national struggle against colonization in Sudan through Graduates Congress, artistic and literary leagues and needle houses. They participated, as well, in enhancement of the Sudanese life in different modern developmental and technological areas economically, socially, culturally and politically. They became real leaders of the society and played a major role in the progress of life in Sudan and some Arab and African countries, besides their strong continuation and effective presence today in other world countries (Bagie Badawi Mohamed, 2008,p 55-73).
The study contributed to refining the talents of the Sudanese plastic artists, developed their creative capacities and instilled in them the spirit of patriotism and thinking of themselves as intellectuals and their Sudanese identity, especially during the sixtieth. All Sudanese intellectuals, in general, were concerned with the search of the Sudanese identity. Consequently, appeared artistic and literary schools and associations along with political factions, syndicate organizations and professional groupings. There was the school of “ Forest and Desert”, “Aba Damak Association” in the area of poetry, literature, thought and politics and “School of Khartoum” in the area of plastic art and everyone intended to express the Sudanese identity through their respective specialization and creative intellectual activity. The Sudanese plastic artists were looking for an art that expresses the Sudanese Arab, African, Christian and Muslim formation and affiliation. Then followed the formation of many Sudanese plastic schools, such as the Caligraphy School, New Aesthetic School, Crystal School, Sophistic School, the One School and finally, Sudanawia School and Post- Sudanawia School which is still under formation (Ahmed Altayeb Zenelabdeen, 1990/1991, P. 55).
In consequence, art of caricature, photography, printing, design of publications, modern printing, use of modern technology such as the computer, modern communication means with the emergence of satellites, robots, packing, manufacturing, architecture design and everything that facilitates , simplifies life, eliminates complications and helps man to enjoy the blessings of life were introduced and thus were the multiple forms and patterns of the Sudanese plastic arts (Ahmed Amer Jaber, 2016, P. 69-133).
It is worth mentioning in spite of all these developments influencing the modern art and start of search for modernism and contemporariness, the Sudanese traditional plastic art was not eradicated, as it was practiced since pre- modern schools and carried huge plastic knowledge outcome of accumulated Sudanese plastic experiences and experiments throughout its old civilization history. Those traditional plastic products were directly linked to people’s life and living requirements. Though most of the producers were not literate or claimed to belong to them, yet they continued and developed because they responded to the necessity of their existence in Sudanese environments which imposed such existence. They are products of such environments because they meet their needs. Moreover, the structure itself provides the raw material of components to make its study easy. They can be classified according to the raw material that consists of bases of their production. Raw materials are: the plant, skin, mud, stone, metal and glass from which all handcrafts, costumes, clothes, cosmetics, accessories and productive, nutritional, defensive and industrial machineries are designed.
1. Art is the design with its basic dimensions and technical and aesthetic elements and components on which it depends in building, configuring and creation based on imagination.
2. Art with its different designs constitutes the bases of the Sudanese civilization with all its achievements at all levels of the multiple human scopes of life in the past and present.
3. It reflects a big part of the Sudanese heritage and asserts its hybrid features and cultural identity that ensue from its numerous environments.
4. Design in the Sudanese plastic art remains a source of inspiration, power, revival and progress.
Effort must to be exerted and work shall be continued constantly and seriously to discover the elements and components of the Sudanese civilization both locally and internationally to attain real revival.
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