Out of a fever dream, scrambled and meticulously sketched, comes George Edward Scuncucur, alter ego or possibly higher self of Sudanese visual artist and writer Omer Khairy.

Out of a fever dream, scrambled and meticulously sketched, comes George Edward Scuncucur, alter ego or possibly higher self of Sudanese visual artist and writer Omer Khairy.

We’re introduced to George Edward in 1972 through The Scuncucur Biography, a manuscript written by Omer Khairy after his return to his burgeoning practice in the arts from a long medical hiatus. Through this, he details the life, history and memories of the imaginary Englishman, in whose name and likeness the artist finds his own self. In the coming years, Khairy, signed his works in both his given and chosen names interchangeably: ‘O. Khairy (G. Edward)’. It was not understood whether the artist viewed himself as two people with different lives, or if George Edward was just an imagined persona.

To better understand the emergence of George Edward, it is perhaps necessary to understand the making of Omer Khairy himself. Khairy was the last of seven children born to Abdallah Khairy and Fatima Al Haj Mohamed, born in 1939 in Omdurman, Sudan. He went to Al Abbasiya Elementary School, where he began his journey through the arts by learning to draw and paint, with great inspiration from his older brother and artist Abdul Aziz. In 1957 Khairy studied art as a major subject at the Senior Secondary School in Khartoum Polytechnic and was later admitted to the Khartoum College of Art.  A lot of his work centred on city streets and people, and offered a unique and introspective look at Sudanese life.  He was known for his work with black ink on paper and wood, but he also painted in watercolour and mixed media. In 1960, Khairy hosted his first exhibition in a cultural centre in Khartoum, and then made the decision to leave art school and make his own way.

In an unfortunate turn of events soon after embarking on his independent journey as an artist, Khairy suffered a nervous breakdown following the tragic loss of his mother in 1963. Having lost his father as a child, Khairy had formed a very tight- knit relationship with his mother and her passing deeply wounded and disturbed him. He was later taken to Egypt to receive psychiatric care, which ultimately altered the course of his life and career entirely.

Omer Khairy did not return to the arts scene until the early 1970s, when he made his debut as George Edward. In the time that followed, the artist became active in the National Council of Literature and Arts and the Blue Nile Sailing Club, which deeply influenced and infiltrated his work and drawings. The artist was also known for his preoccupation with writing and poetry, and he often added written phrases to his paintings that would highlight the subject matter. He wrote three collections of poems, in addition to translating some poems from English into Arabic.

Omer Khairy, also known as George Edward Scuncucur, died on 12 April 1999. He left behind a dense and captivating artistic legacy that is not only an expression of Sudanese life in modern art, but a reflection of his complex psyche and encounters. In the wake of his genius, it is not our place to question but to honour him and all of his names. Many of his works are part of the Barjeel Arts Foundation Collection, the Sharjah Art Foundation Collection, the Tigani Omar El Khatib Collection, the Khayat Private Collection, and several other collections.


Naim, Ghazi, (2010), Four Decades Of Painting, Poetry and Translation.


Omer Khairy’s story, or rather George Edward Scuncucur’s story, was found in a copy of Sudan’s Radio, Television and Theatre Magazine, contributed to Sudan Memory by Jannis Stürtz/Habibi Funk, in addition to a number of articles and other publications inspired by the artist’s life.

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