Shibir Retains Status

Written by Prof. Hussein Gamman

Osman Elamin Shibir once arrival from Malakal, where his father was working. He proudly joined the KTI, Khartoum Technical Institute. He had been talented enough to bring some of his clay masterpieces to tease his comrades. 

After decades of specialization we now look back to evaluate the youngster as a phenomenon, the vein of gold in a rock. Among us, his companions, Shibir was unique. His broad aptitude was a source of jealousy. During that fertile period appeared the critic, Denis Williams, who discovered the School of Khartoum in art. Among his treasures were some of Shibir’s masterpieces. 

So our/young friend could carve an early cosmopolitan status. Soon after the successful completion of the secondary studies at the KTI, Shibir looked forward to securing a brighter future than the traditional pursuit of his contemporaries.

Our comrade received acceptance from Germany. At Khartoum railway station Shibir was bidden a warm farewell by brother Omar and his famous singer Osman Husein, their brother-in-law. With hiss passport he carried pads of his works among the modest baggage pieces. Berlin hosted the Sudanese talent, promoted his potential aptitudes and he scored high qualification. 

After years of devoted achievements abroad, Shibir returned to his beloved country. The University of Khartoum attracted his diversified tendencies. At the famous printing press Shibir designed miracles under the clever leadership of Professor Ali Elmek. After patient endeavours the great artist could design and layout about two hundred titles. Lately he shifted to the Faculty of Architecture. At the Internal Design Section our specialist at last could find the right incubator of his genius as refined by the Berliners. 

Yet the hand of Shibir remained motivated by the Sudanese heritage. His life among the Nilotic tribes had mastered his experience. He painted their lives and traditions with tender fingers and a broad intimacy with painting or clay depictions.

Shibir’s practice is unique within the tribes of Sudanese fine-artists. Among his individualities is the full acquaintance with the human physique and the animal and plant particulars. This particular treasure has later qualified Shibir in carvings, paintings and internal designs that are non-conventional and miles from copied reproduction. 

He is empowered by his own personal inspiration. Our artist-is gifted enough by his multilateral abilities and developed experience to formulate his own concepts, backed up by multilateral talents at engineering, architecture and internal design. Music sprinkles some flavour, Shibir is an excellent harp plaver. All these pioneering qualities, harmonious or contrasting, have shaped the multilateral character and the result were just stunning.

Shibir remained since his graduation in Berlin or operation at the University of Khartoum
loyal to the habit of working at his house in Maamoora. He rarely mixed with others or exposed to the media. His art monopolized all his devotion throughout decades of achievement.

At last Shibir’s reappears after years of confinement. He rejoined his old folk with joyful spirits. New dimensions are intertwined among friendly contacts spiced by ripe professionalism. Work exhibited these days by the expert hands of Shibir brightly indicate the magnitude of the serious pioneer. His vacant seat is now boldly engaged. It is a remarkable coincidence that the exhibition of Osman Shibir shall be maugurated by Osman Husein, one of the nearest of kin. Warm contacts are expressed by Osman of Berlin and Osman of Khartoum,

Prof. Hussein Gamman

Previous Dean and Head of – College of Fine & Applied Art, Khartoum (Sudan).

Denis Williams (1 February 1923 – 28 June 1998) was a Guyanese painter, author and archaeologist.