Elshafei Dafalla will be an artist in residence at the Residential College Art Gallery between October 28-November 1, working with RC students to realize new work for the exhibition "Blood Underwater", using the gallery as a studio space, and working primarily with pastels and canvas. He will hold "open studio hours" in the gallery on Monday Oct. 28, 5-7pm and Wednesday Oct. 30 from 11:30am-1:30pm, and all are welcome to participate. He is also giving a lecture that is open to the public in Room B845 on Tuesday, Oct. 29 at noon. The exhibition will have an opening reception November 1 from 6-8pm. The exhibition runs through November 22, Monday thru Fridays 10am-5pm at the Residential College Art Gallery.

Eishafei Dafalla received a Bachelor of Arts in Sculpture from the College of Fine and Applied Art at Sudan University for Science and Technology in Khartoum, Sudan as well as a Diploma in Folklore from the Afro-Asian Institute at the University of Khartoum, Sudan. He earned a Master of Fine Arts from the Stamps School of Art and Design at University of Michigan.

Elshafei has participated in more than fifty exhibits worldwide, and his work is part of public and private collections in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the United States. He continues to lecture and to exhibit his work, holding artist residencies, participating in community building activities, and creating performative installation events around the U.S. and internationally. An extended interview  with Elshafei was created by the Washington DC-based, nonprofit, Center for Concern. He's also created a series of short videos: WagalaUnshackled MemoryRoot CauseMade By Survivors.

Here is an excerpt from Elshafei's statement about Blood Underwater:

Blood Underwater is a collaborative work, which encourages deep thinking and creative expression. It provides a voice for community members and activists, especially from political, national, racial, religious and other minorities, to express their concerns about global suffering through art. Participants gather around a large canvas with paints and music and are guided through a series of artistic expressions by “artivist” Elshafei Dafalla. The purpose is to use art to protest against violence, torture, enforced disappearances and other forms of brutality.

Blood Underwater is a demand for “freedom, peace and justice” -- from San Salvador to Khartoum to Sindh -- and throughout the world. This visual narrative will recognize men and women who have been murdered because they wanted to live in freedom, political prisoners, people forced from their homes, and those who have been tortured for standing up to dictatorships.

The Blood Underwater artwork narrative will connect participants to one another, and to refugees, asylum seekers, political prisoners and others who have already died or are currently suffering in their own countries or in new lands. This collaboration and new knowledge will enable participants to reflect together about global suffering, and what can be done about it.

This visiting artist residency is made possible thanks to support from Arts at Michigan.