ISBN 9789994281251
Pages 218
Dimensions 244 x 170mm
Published 2022
Publisher Andariya, Sudan
Format Paperback

(Un)doing Resistance

Authoritarianism and Attacks on the Arts in Sudan’s 30 Years of Islamist Rule

by Ruba El Melik, Reem Abbas

In April 2019, when millions marched to the headquarters of the military in Khartoum and other cities and the march was transformed into a sit-in that continued for two months, the sit-in became Sudan’s largest arts festival. The art produced during the revolution went viral, as it was covered by foreign journalists who swarmed Khartoum to report on the revolution.
However, the narrative was always lacking the historical significance of how art was mobilized. Sudan’s contemporary art history was nurtured by its many revolutions; in 1964, in 1985 and in 2018/19. Due to the military dictatorships that continued to rule Sudan since independence, except brief honeymoons of democracy, art was always positioned as a revolutionary product.
To contextualize the revolutionary art produced and consumed during the 2018/19 revolution, this book explores Sudan’s contemporary history by briefly looking at the politically turbulent 1980s and deeply looking at how culture and art were policed in the dark 1990s – which is the period after the Islamists took over power after the 1989 coup. During that period, the entire artistic and cultural landscape came under attack as artists were arrested, sacked from jobs and intimidated, but the infrastructure that has always supported this landscape suffered the most, as the book hopes to explain.

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About the Authors

Ruba El Melik

Ruba El Melik is an independent researcher with a sociocultural anthropology degree from UCLA interested in progressing solutions to social issues through research, ethnography and collaborations with local community organizers

Reem Abbas

Reem Abbas is a freelance Sudanese journalist, writer, researcher and communications expert with more than 10 years of experience with local and international organizations. Her writings on press freedoms and socio-political commentary appeared in more than 15 international, regional and local media outlets.