Transatlantic Dialogue:  Art in and Out of Africa
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Grazing at Shendi

Amir Nour
Sudanese, born 1939
Grazing at Shendi, 1969
Steel (202 pieces)
119 x 161 in (variable)
Lent by the artist

Grazing at Shendi grew from Nour's experiences at Shendi, the artist's Sudanese birthplace, and from contemporary sculptural ideas. Nour recalled: "On the other side of the river was an empty horizon—sand and desert. You get overwhelmed by the space. And it's a scary type of feeling too because there's nothing there to enhance your mind. So you go back into yourself and think of your physical existence."

The work suggests the goats and sheep he saw in the distance as a child. There is no formula prescribed by the artist for the arrangement of forms, so their random placement may echo the arrangement of grazing herds. The spare, semicircular forms in metal suggest the minimalist sculpture of the late 1960s, when this work was conceived. Unlike the minimalists, who renounced cultural associations in their work, Nour's forms are brilliantly deployed to resonate meaning, experience, landscape and memory in ways that transcend the formalism of minimalism.

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