Meet Zaki

Born in Artul (Sudan) in 1959 . In 1983 he studied graphic design (BA) at the College of Fine and Applied Art in Khartoum. In 1987 he came to study in Germany, took language courses at the Goethe-Institut Iserlohn and settled in Kassel. Zaki Al-Maboren received a grant from Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation for the promotion of gifted students and studied at the University of Kassel. In 1993 he finished his studies with a Magister Artium (M. A.) in art and political science. Since 1993 Zaki Al-Maboren has been working as a freelance artist in Kassel. From the beginning, he has set up numerous exhibitions and workshops in various European countries, also in Asia, North America and Africa. He has also taken part in diverse international symposia, received several prizes and honors. Numerous of his works are to be found on public display in Germany and abroad. Various publications have appeared on the subject of individual works, including several monographs.


Selection of Solo Exhibitions:

  • 2023 The Sensation of Nubia. Kunststation Kleinsassen
  • 2022 Tal des Regenbogens. Hallenbad Ost Kassel, documenta 15 Venue.
  • 2020 „Self-Profiling“ Seitenhalle des Kasseler Rathauses
  • 2016 Gastkünstler des 90. Kunsthistorischen Studierendenkongress
  • HBK Hochschule der Bildenden Künste Kassel
  • 2015: Strahlender Blickfang. Galerie am Park, Vienna

Selection of Group Exhibitions:

  •   2022 BLIND SPOTS EXPOSED - Perspektiven wechseln  im KAZ im Kasseler Kulturbahnhof.
  • 2019 “Al Multaga” Doha,Qatar and “art sans frontières » Island of Kerkennah, Tunisia
  • 2018 / 2017 Silk Road Art Festival, Shanxi Museum Xi’an, China
  • 2016 (387) ROTATION. Kulturbahnhof – Kassel
  • 2015 Prize winner of Volkswagen/UPK Prize
  • 2015 Regency Art, Windham Regency Hall, Doha-Qatar
  • 2011 eine Art Aufruhr: Aktuelle Kunst in Position zu Politik. Galerie am Lützowplatz, Berlin
  • 2010 Hausbesuche – Museum Fridricianum at Kasseler Kunstverein in Kassel. 
  • 1999 Schweizer Künstlermesse’99, St. Gallen, Switzerland.


Zaki Al-Maboren initially studied graphic design in Khartoum. Driven by curiosity, he moved to Germany in 1987, began to learn the language and eventually graduated from Kassel University with a degree in art history in 1993. At this point, he focused on the symbolic content of African mythology, as well as of Islam and Christianity. This led several critics to speak of archetypes, in accordance with a prevalent fashion. However, I think that another view is more appropriate. When Al-Maboren lived in Kassel, he had the opportunity to view his homeland from outside. By letting the symbolic language found in different cultures, myths and world religions “wander” through his mind he came upon a position of his own. Rather than drawing generally-valid pictorial symbols or types, he created an individual, unique mythology of his own. His quest was for a new pictorial language with no predefined symbols. One might almost speak of a “reinterpretation” or an altogether “new interpretation” of symbols, as Prof. Dr. Horst Giszycki did in a speech. The artist’s work doesn’t show any archetypes, as he is not searching for origins, instead he views mythologies in relation to himself, thus updating them. His paintings should be seen as a record of the worlds he has “wandered” through. Al-Maboren paints, lacquers, scratches and scrapes on the picture plane, motifs such as animals, flowers and trees, but also houses, cars and airplanes, as symbols of a technological consumer society. He also confronts current political problems.

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