Peindre la diversité, revendiquer l’unité – Questions d’identités dans le Street Art de la Révolution soudanaise-Yacine Khiar

If the spirit of the Sudanese Revolution of 2018-19 can be summed up as a general quest for a free and democratic society, it also carries an ideal of equality and the fight against discrimination. The celebration of the diversity existing in the country becomes a tool for cohesion and national unity.

Street art, and more particularly murals, are a support strongly mobilized to this end. First of all, because through these objects the Sudanese “youth”, a major actor of the Revolution, expressed itself. Then, because their materiality, their proliferation during the protests, and their presence in the street politicized space, made it possible to make them nodes of affirmation and circulation of the values symbolized in these urban paintings.

The text focuses on a selected corpus of this pictorial artistic production that carries an identity discourse. These works stage the complex parameters of local identity (ethnic, religious, national affiliations) in order to put forward an inclusive idea of Sudanese diversities as a political project for a future society. Without delving into questions of style, artists’ trajectories, or broader links to the revolutionary movement, I draw on firsthand data (from a fieldwork in February-May 2020) as well as second-hand sources (online images) to decipher the most obvious expressions of street painting production around issues of ethnicity, diversity and nationalism, and the use of these identities to construct a new ‘sudanity’.

AUF_Being Arab Muslim Sudanese_Working Paper 3_Yacine Khiar_November 2020

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