As a result of a tumultuous political and economical period in Sudan, which too brought about disputes of its historical context, Hussein Salim spent a number of years as a refugee in various countries such as Egypt and South Africa. Despite his artistic training in Khartoum University, he attained his Master’s degree in art at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, Pietermaritzburg. He has exhibited extensively overseas along with acclaimed local galleries, such as Johans Borman and Bonisa Private Gallery. It was during this time, that Salim and his family embarked on both an emotional and awakening return back to his homeland, Sudan. Inspired by its diversity and diasporic, multicultural communal structure, his body of work aims to celebrate this through extensive layering of symbols masked by rich colours.
Following the example of graciousness, humility and resilience of the Sudanese, Hussain Salim has worked closely with NGO’s such as African Angels and Buccaneers Outreach program, whom focus on the sustenance and uplifting of children and schools in marginalized communities with proceeds of his artwork sales being donated to various outreach schemes.
As an Artist, expression has come to me as a matter of trying to grow the feeling and capturing the essence of the little things in life (the details) in their presence and their absence. My aim was refreshing the memory of the viewer, about shifting environments and its people. My aim was to draw light to the tiny details that no one pays attention to.
It is always a process to fully create the replicas of my view of space, atmosphere and the “ins-and-outs” of these microcosms. It is so laborious for people to appreciate the small things in life until they realize that time is running out and attempt to absorb the world all at once. I interpret this as an echo of educating the viewer. Showing the viewer how to listen carefully, and see the “seams” of the great painting that is life. In these artworks, I discovered that my purpose and my aim were the same.
The journey that I took (and I still am on) has shown me what I truly want. More. Not more of life, but more from life.
The knowledge of this understanding has changed me, as I wake up everyday, I
open my eyes a little more. I try to see a little deeper and understand the inner workings of my surroundings. I do this now with a renewed passion, commitment and sense of wonder at my findings. The growing of my experience has led me to rethink my understanding of the very world I live in.
The material used to weave the world around us cannot be truly comprehended by the human mind. For someone living the life of royalty to the poorest of the poor, I truly believe that this way of thinking can make life more dynamic and give it depth.
My artwork always needs to convey my passion. What I believe, is that artwork is supposed to reach beyond the boundary of the frame and break the laws of physics, society and the very way our minds work.
These paintings are my thoughts married with action. These are when I have “jumped out the frame”. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did creating them.
– Hussein Salim