Musa is a painter and performance artist. He graduated from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Khartoum, Sudan, in 1976 and completed a PhD in fine art and art history from Montpellier University in Montpellier, France, in 1979. His knowledge of art history, disentangled from the dominant lineage of European history, enables him the liberty of intellectual and creative mobility, as he transits between the histories of multiple world cultures and traditions. Musa is known for endowing traditional painting techniques with new meanings and appropriated aesthetics. In addition to socio-political critique, his commentary also points toward the historiography of art history.
Key exhibitions include Seven Stories About Modern Art in Africa at Whitechapel Gallery in London, in 1995; Modernities and Memories at the Venice Biennale in Venice, Italy, in 1997; New Premises: Three Decades, at the Museum for African Art in New York, USA, in 2012; and more recently, the touring exhibition The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Hell, Purgatory revisited by Contemporary African Artists, curated by Simon Njami, currently on show at the National Museum of African Art — Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., USA through November.