Was born in Omdurman, Sudan and is known as a pioneer of Modern Sudanese and African art. He studied at the School of Design at Gordon Memorial College, and worked as an art teacher until he was awarded a scholarship to the Slade School in London. After completing his studies in Europe, El Salahi returned to Sudan, where he taught for a number of years at the Khartoum School of Fine and Applied Art. Aside from his career as an artist, he has held posts in various Sudanese government ministries and has served as a consultant for UNESCO.
El Salahi’s Arab-African heritage is reflected in his work by his creative use of elements drawn from Sudan’s literary and visual heritage. Using modernist styles and techniques, the artist infuses Arabic calligraphy and African forms with modern shadings, creating works that reflect the crossing of cultures from the ancient to present.