KHARTOUM, SUDAN — As talks between Sudan’s protesters and the military make slow progress on the issue of civilian rule, one group is creating a colorful push to the process. A group of protester-artists is painting a three kilometer long banner that tells the story of Sudan’s ongoing revolution.
In a courtyard 100 meters away from a demonstration in Khartoum, dozens of artists are kneeling above a wide textile canvas. They are painting images of weapons, soldiers and artistic interpretations of the Sudanese national flag. Some just paint what they feel at that moment.
Forty-year-old artist Mohamed Ashraf is one of the artists.
Ashraf has been here in central Khartoum since December, protesting with thousands of Sudanese over fuel and food shortages, and the political situation.
The protesters drove the military to oust president Omar al-Bashir after three decades in power and are now pushing for civilian rule.
Ashraf and his fellow artists are creating a three-kilometer-long textile banner to spread that message.
“It will give us confidence that place is peaceful, like a soft talk about freedom. It’s a prayer for us to impress our vision and our cause,” Ashraf said.
Thousands of artists have worked on the banner, which tells the story of Sudan’s present-day revolution and past oppression.
They plan to finish within weeks and, if there is still no civilian rule, raise it at the central protest outside military headquarters.
Sudan has seen popular revolts for democracy in the past that the military put down.
Ashraf, however, believes that this time there will be real change.
“After 30 years, any change is change. But the last period has been very hard for us and this little bit of freedom we have now gives us power to go forward to on the real freedom, insha Allah,” Ashraf said.
It’s getting dark during the demonstration here in Khartoum. New groups of demonstrators still flock with banners and drums. They are asking for civilian rule.
Hundreds of demonstrators wave with the flashlights on their mobile phone, as if to say they are hoping for daylight after three decades of darkness.