About the Place
The art gallery in Downtown Hotel & Business Center was opened to the public in 2019, with the purpose of using art to spread awareness and cultivate cultural interest. However, Sol for Change, the art gallery’s main sponsoring group came to life in 2015, it was founded by Abdulrahiem Shaddad.
A Story of Passion
Rahiem –as he prefers to be called- was an engineering student, though he felt an inclination towards art since his early days as a teenager. Being raised under the wings of artistic family members helped him gain a better understanding and appreciation for artworks.
The idea of Sol for Change started as an individual effort during his college days. Rahiem used to plan and organize events in different places around Khartoum, including his former university, University of Khartoum. A few years later, after he finished his Bachelor’s degree in Malaysia, he returned to plan what was later identified as one of the iconic events thrown under Sol for Change’s name; Safe Place. The gathering took place in 2017 and was meant for people to share and talk about things that are bothering them. Rather unexpectedly, the event received wide appreciation. In 2019 Rahiem decided to start an online blog, focusing on publishing artworks, and spreading awareness about the artistic movement in Sudan. The blog shifted later on to become the formidable place that is the Downtown Gallery and the physical space for Sol for Change.
Situated in the heart of Khartoum, the reputable hotel is only a walking distance away from the city center, Al-Waha Mall, the grand Masjid, and the market near it.
The multi-story building is more than just a hospitable dormitory, it contains offices, an indoor restaurant for guests and room service, and the gallery on the fourth floor.
Despite the human traffic in the surrounding area, having the gallery here can be inspiring to the residents and contributing artists, as the place and its surroundings offer artists a space to meet, discuss, and practice their favorite work.
That Old Fashioned Feel
Though the hotel halls are a feast to the eyes, the gallery is considered the jewel of the place. The incredible paintings and artworks are not the only admirable things, the gallery in itself is a fantastic place to be in, nicely secluded from street noise, decorated in a way that clearly tells of rich culture, giving a vintage vibe to the place, delivering a sense of going briefly back in time to the 60s and 70s, while remaining in the present.
Inside the gallery, visitors can enjoy looking at all kinds of artistic pieces in different shapes and sizes. As visitors step onto the fourth-floor hallway, they are greeted with marvelous water-color paintings and brilliant photography.
Heading inside, visitors can now take a closer look at some of the bigger artworks, more water-color paintings, and mini pieces put together to create interesting mosaic artworks.
Inside the studio, visitors are able to see the first steps of many art projects, and the number of color pastes found here and there, a sight that indicates vividly that this place speaks only in the language of art.
Room for New Blood
One of the gallery’s great joys is the magnificent variation in featured artistic content, which comes from contributing artists and their infinite creativity. The gallery showcases new artworks periodically, and with it new faces and artists are featured as well- even newcomers to the scene and rising artists are displaying their original work at the gallery and on social media channels. This variation ensures that followers will continuously get a chance to see the new original artwork.
Recently, an Art Residency program was introduced to the gallery. The scope of the program is to offer art enthusiasts a chance to spend time inside the gallery, browse and contemplate the showcased art pieces for inspiration, then let the inner artistic sense loose. Whatever drawing comes out on canvas is discussed with gallery curators to understand the resident’s concept behind the painting, then it gets placed on the wall. This program gave many art enthusiasts the chance to explore their ability and fulfill the desire to express through drawing. So far, fabulous artworks have been produced.
The Downtown gallery and its sponsor Sol for Change group announce various events throughout the year, posting dates and event schedules on social media channels. Their most recent Bazaar featured a collection of cultural art pieces and artworks related to the 2019 sit-in. Collectibles are for sale at reasonable prices, and they would make a nice addition to houses or offices.
Following “21”, which was an event that included many artworks to kick-start the year 2021 with fine arts, Rahiem is currently working to create an art calendar for upcoming art shows and events. One show was hosted on the 29th of January 2021 with the title Art for All, and a second show was scheduled to take place in February. Sol for Change also collaborates with artists to showcase their artworks in other locations besides the Downtown gallery. The last collaboration was with Reem Aljeally, where her works were showcased in an exhibition titled “Born in Memory”. Stay tuned for her interview with Andariya.
The vintage hotel is surely a place worth visiting, the fantastic art pieces showcased at the gallery and the periodic bazaars are truly a sight worth seeing. Visit the gallery’s Facebook page @The Downtown Gallery to check the latest updates.
L4, The downtown hotel
Across from Alsheikh Mustafa Alamin's mosque.