Ibrahim El-Salahi

What’s the best work of art you saw this summer?18 well-traveled experts weigh in

Sultan Sooud al-Qassemi, founder of the Barjeel Art Foundation: 


‘The best work I have seen this summer is a painting by Sudanese artist Ibrahim El Salahi, titled The Mosque, which now hangs in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. The Mosque includes numerous themes of that era, including calligraphy, landscape, and figurative and Islamic references. What makes this work so special is that it was personally chosen by Alfred H. Barr Jr, the museum’s founding director, when he met El Salahi in the mid-’60s in New York. Sadly, the work had not been seen for 50 years. MoMA decided to finally display the work following Trump’s executive order of January 27th, 2017, which banned visitors from certain Muslim countries, as part of the museum’s protest against that ban. Despite its small size (12â…› by 18â…› inches), it is politically significant in that it was part of MoMA’s initial effort to globalize its collection.’