Hussein Salim is no stranger to travel, finding new environments, adapting to new living spaces. Having traveling extensively since leaving Khartoum, Sudan in the 1980s, his experiences have layered his work with a dense patterning of memory, reminiscence of place and intricate symbolisms influenced by different cultural contexts.
A poem titled The Importance of Elsewhere by Philip Larkin inspired the title of this exhibition. As a practicing Sufi, engaged with meditative writing practices, Salim imbues each painting with poetry and a spiritual intent that can be felt, sensed or interpreted in various ways through the recurring motifs, range of colours and lyrical titles. Salim asserts
I paint for:
The recognition of the imaginative
The recognition of others
The recognition of the humane
The works exhibited trace a period of years of making. Each piece illustrates moments, memories, dreams and experiences. The paintings tread across a variety of concepts and each offers a glimpse into an ‘elsewhere’. This exhibition offers a moment to gaze elsewhere, to imagine different lands, different connotations and perspectives and contemplate the journeys that have been experienced. Transitory spaces can exist within the moments of stillness; movement can occur through subtle shifts. Through the thickly painted, impasto marks across these paintings, knowledge is imprinted and imparted and Salim details a kind of coding to be unpacked. By looking carefully, spending time with each work, new illustrations reveal themselves, suggesting new directions to look and new stories to explore. The imagination is powerful and in these works, Salim invites it to play freely.