search instagram arrow-down


Posts Archive


Art and Culture Child Marriage Climate Change Covid-19 Disability Inclusion Dynamic teaching models empowerment Eye Care Folktales and literacy Food and Drink Fundraising handicrafts Herbal Medicine International Literacy Day Khartoum Scenes Latest News Literacy Circles Gallery marriage customs NIle rituals Nuba Mountains Older Women in Literacy Orphans Schooling Program poetry religion and spirituality Season's Greetings Short Film Sudanese dress Teacher Training Water and Hygiene Women's Literacy


Abdur-Raheem Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi Amel Bashir Taha Arabic Dialects Bentley Brown Bilingual English-Spanish booklet Black History Month Building the Future Burri Flower Festival Community Literacy Costume Griselda El Tayib Dar Al Naim Mubarak definitions of literacy oral traditions dhikr Donate establishing impact filigree work Frédérique Cifuentes Financial and Economic Impact of Covid-19 Fishing songs Flood-damaged Schools flooding floods Khartoum Frédérique Cifuentes photography Graduation Celebrations handicrafts Health Hijab hijil house decoration Huntley & Palmer Biscuits Ibrahim El-Salahi prayer boards calligraphy birds impact scale and reach Income generation skills International Women’s Day Jirtig Kamala Ishaq Kambala Harvest Kashkosh Kujur Khartoum Leila Aboulela Letters from Isohe Liz Hodgkin Lost Pharaohs of The Nile magarit Malikah al Dar Mohammad Mike Asher water-skins Moniem Ibrahim Mutaz Mohammed Al-Fateh Our Beloved Sudan Tahgred Elsanhouri Palliative Care poetry Pottery proverbs ramadán hymn Reem Alsadig Respecting cultural sensitivities river imagery Joanna Lumley Safia Elhillo Salah Elmur Season's Greetings short story colonial sibha rosary Siddig El Nigoumi SSSUK street scenes street art young writers Sudanese wedding customs Sufism Tayeb Salih The Doum Tree Agricultural Projects Dialogue Role Plays tea ladies coffee poetry teela tribal artifacts handicrafts Women in Sudanese History Women Potters Women’s History Month writers on Sudan Writing the Wrongs

Ibrahim El-Salahi Pain Relief at The Saatchi Gallery, London

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 92 other subscribers

Ahmed Abushakeema – Documenting Diversity in a Changing Sudan

Documenting Diversity in a Changing Sudan

The first photo Ahmed remembers taking – the stepping stone to his 2016 project, A Thousand Faces of Sudan – was that of a 40-year old man standing next to a train in Khartoum.


Since then, after taking an average of two portraits a week, some at random, some staged and others on request, he has amassed a frank and tender archive of Sudanese facial features, aimed at celebrating the cultural, religious and ethnic diversity of his country; a diversity he fears is under-represented in both public space and discourse. His determination to remind his fellow countrymen and women that Sudan is not a cultural monolith took on particular relevance in the 2019 revolution and coincided with a flowering of artistic expression among young Sudanese.

Below, screenshots from the Sudania 24 TV interview with Ahmed Abushakeema, featuring his work. Scroll down to watch the interview in full.

Unlike Humans of NY which include biographical profiles of it subjects, Ahmed insisted on keeping his subjects anonymous; “It’s about their face and how it represents a part of the country’s population”, rather than an individual’s life story. Nevertheless, there is an empathy and affection in his portraits which hint at a myriad untold stories. He acknowledges that most photos were taken in Khartoum and always with permission – if with some gentle cajoling on occasion.

See too A Thousand Faces of Sudan in Sudan Retold, pp 150-165

“The thing about taking a photo is that it freezes time at the one specific moment you want others to observe with you, or refer back to it whenever they want to.” Ahmed needs to document each version of the country as continues to evolve.”

Watch the brief interview (Arabic only) with Ahmed Abushakeema below. An English summary is available on request.

A Tribute to Ahmed Abushakeema’s Work

Over the past six years I have been traveling to Sudan with our women’s literacy program. During my visits, I have been blessed to meet and get to know many wonderful Sudanese men and women living and working in Khartoum. Below is a small personal tribute to Abushakeema’s work. All photos are copyright Imogen Thurbon and were taken with permission and in a spirit of respect and gratitude. Please do not reproduce any photos of real people below without written permission.

Street Murals and Portraits in Khartoum Khartoum’s Changing Street Furniture Some Personal Portraits

Street Murals and Portraits in Khartoum

See more in Mosaics of the City

New and Old Faces – Khartoum’s Changing Street Furniture

Some Personal Portraits

Omdurman and Friday Dhikr Worship at the Mahdi’s Tomb

See more in The Eternal Dance and Sudanese Moments


Dongola Neighbours, mid-1980s

See more in Scenes from Sudan’s Northern Province.

And Meroe, mid-1980s

Khartoum Morning Coffee Companions

The Blessings of Hospitality

Leave a Reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: