Johannesburg’s Melrose Gallery has recently launched artist Hussein Salim’s latest solo exhibition Garden of Carnal Delights, both as a physical exhibition and through its online viewing room.
‘My past and present are marred with memories of loss, isolation, migration, exile and forgotten heritage’Hussein Salim
Salim was born in Sudan in 1966 and personally experienced the conflict of the 1970s and 1980s. Following his artistic training at Khartoum University, he settled in South Africa and attained his Master’s degree in art at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal.
His rich, impasto paintings are a product of his Sudanese heritage, formal art education, exile and diasporic experience that encourages dialogue around issues of pertinence to Mankind and our daily existence, while mindful of his dual African and Islamic identity.
For Salim, art not only evokes memories and contemplation of the loss of home, but it also encounters the present and shapes the future and he regularly returns to themes of time, birth, love, and death.
His artworks are often described as landscapes, though not realistic in nature, layered with figures and symbols both ancient yet contemporary, inviting the viewer to engage with their hidden meaning. A feeling of nostalgia permeates his works, brought about by a sense of displacement and longing to return to his country of birth. The works have a distinct sense of tranquillity about them.
The Garden of Carnal Delights, the title of the exhibition, represents the marriage of the world, and the manifestation of thought all bound to the circle of life. His painting by the same name depicts the love child of the world and thought, the twins named consciousness and existence representing the void which is the absence of idea, its birth, and its death.
‘The journey that I took (and I still am on) has shown me what I truly want. Not more of life, but more from life’Hussein Salim
The Garden of Carnal Delights runs from 6 May to 6 June 2021 at The Melrose Gallery and on the gallery’s online viewing room.