A self-taught artist and writer, Omer Khairy is most known for his meticulous work with black ink on plain wood and paper, a style which he developed in the late 1970s and 1980s. He was inspired by a range of images from Sudanese street scenes and enjoyed making portraits and caricatures of his friends and colleagues.

In 1963, Khairy suffered a nervous breakdown following his mother's passing and was taken to Cairo where he received psychiatric treatment for several months. After returning to Sudan in a stable yet fragile condition, he wrote The Scuncucur Biography (1972), a text about an imaginary Englishman he called George Edward Scuncucur. The book registered the childhood and youth memories of Scuncucur in detail. After the book’s publication, it was not clear if Khairy had started thinking of himself as two people, George Edward Scuncucur and Omer Khairy, but from then on, his works are often interchangeably signed by both personas.

In the 1970s, Khairy emerged from his isolation and produced art but it was not until the 1980s that his work gained recognition. Unsettled Objects features four artworks created in the 1980s by the artist¬—a pioneer of the ‘Sudanisation’ of modern art practices. The ink on paper drawings demonstrate the Khairy’s sense of composition as well as his eternally mysterious logical instinct.

Related Content