1 October 2017

Sudan: Artist to Launch 'Sudan National Geographic' Media Project

Khartoum — A Sudanese painter/photographer is in preparations to launch a project for bringing to light what he calls Sudan's economic riches and hidden beauties via a collection of media outlets he is considering. Khalid Hamid Yousif says he had already shot a thousand gigabytes of photographs from around the country and its connections with neighboring countries that need someone to edit and prepare them for presentation.

Yousif says Sudan has thousands of flora species and a captivating racial and ethnic diversity, "a diversity that can take one into limitless beauty." "We own lots of water resources, including the World's second largest underground reservoir (in Darfur), that can be tapped to feed the people of the region," argues Yousif. "I want to present the beautiful Sudan and that will satisfy me," he said.

Yousif said one of the 'beautiful' ideas that can help him do something for Sudan is to launch the' Sudan National Geographic' Project, "a project that suits my capabilities, my thoughts and my ambitions." "Regionally, I hope to present a work for the Horn of Africa, another work that presents the Sahara (desert): The arts of Sahara, the music of the Sahara, the literature of the Sahara, the architecture of the Sahara," he said. He said he had conceived the idea for a long time, but failing to find anybody who can help so he decided to leave the country if it were not for the intervention of Prof. Entisar Seghairoun, Head-Section of Antiquities at the University of Khartoum who accepted his ideas and encouraged him. In addition to Professor Seghairoun, Yousif was encouraged by archeology professors Ali Osman Mohamed Salih, Ahmad al-Fahal and others.

"This project is for the entire Sudan. We will set centers all over the country," he said. He further argues that the point at issue is not to beautify Sudan but to "spotlight the beauty that already exists but people don't see it, or do not want to see it" he adds. People do not believe Sudan has all this beauty. My basic job is to turn the compass, so that people can see this beauty. Sudan is a country desired by the entire World but not us, who reject it, disdain it and disdain each other. It is a call for change via the gateway of beauty.

The project is now in the hands of the University of Khartoum which is working on it in a 'very institutionalized manner'. The University has the capability to edit the literature and check the data. The state security is supposed to have a role in this work. They can give logistic support. Major businesses Like Hajjar, DAL, Sudani Telecom and Zain Telecom can sponsor the project.

The project includes the launching of a TV satellite channel, a magazine and photography contests. The aim is to reflect the geography, history and nature of Sudan with intuitions into the country's future. The idea was ripe by the end of 2015 and was made public in 2016. It was my thought to present it on my own but found that it was too big for me. I registered it at the Ministry of Culture and started the search for a channel to put it into action. The University of Khartoum's Faculty of Arts adopted the project and put it front-page on the University's website.

The University's Archeology Section is supposed to do a lot of work in this project. So are the history, geography and medicine sections. Other sections can oversee issues related to music and drama. In Sudan we have music unheard of so far and which the Sudan Radio could not present due to limited time and because of the dominance of political programs.

In Sudan we have the zeer (clay water jar) and the refrigerator. We express ourselves in terms of the zeer and anybody who wants to express himself in terms of the refrigerator can do so but should not smash our zeer under the pretext that it does not represent Sudan In Sudan we have our connections with our neighbors, Ethiopia in particular. We have Christians and we had Jews. We have varied types of soil of different colors and of different characteristics. We have to embrace the beauty around us.

The bet we wrote and declared is that "Sudan is beautiful". We are willing to defend this bet until we die and anyone who wants to disagree with us that Sudan is beautiful, we have the power to show him how Sudan is beautiful and it is his turn to point out the ugliness in Sudan.

"My mother Fatima Younis Ali was a teacher born in the Arda suburb of Omdurman and trained as a teacher at the Delenj Teacher Training Institute in Southern Kordofan. She travelled wide around Sudan. As children she took us with her. We drank from the Nile water and from it we washed our bodies. It was from the Nile water that we acquired tender senses and manners. As young children we travelled by train. That helped us to see many of the towns of Sudan. That made me love Sudan. I want to reflect this love for my country by spotlighting its beauty through pictures, painting and colors" the artist said.

Some people think that progress is to own a beautiful home and a land cruiser vehicle standing in front of this home with a boy washing it and on the rooftop stands a TV satellite and your children go around the corner to eat quality food. That is how they perceive progress. Why not Sudan turn into a series of spacious garden homes with a mango and a guava tree in every home and anyone who does not do so should be questioned by the state?

Artist Khalid Hamid Yousif was born in Omdurman and graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts of the Sudan University For Science and Technology in 1987. He taught at the Ahfad University in Omdurman and then served at the Ministry of Culture and the National Institution for Culture and Arts. He had displayed a lot of galleries during 1984-2003 in Sudan and abroad and had also contributed to a lot of painting and photography exhibitions.

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