Hussein Salim Sudanese, b. 1966

As a Sudanese, my past and present are marred with memories of loss, isolation, migration, exile and forgotten heritage

As a result of the socio-political unrest caused by the First and Second Sudanese Civil Wars, Hussein Salim, along with million others, was forced to flee his native Sudan and spend a number of years as a refugee in countries like the UK, Germany, Egypt and South Africa. His work, characterised by its use of vibrant colours, the layering of intricate patterns and the impasto painting technique, describes his journey of displacement while celebrating his homeland’s diversity and multicultural communal root. 


Salim received an initial artistic training at the University of Khartoum, which he later complemented with further studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, graduating with a master’s degree in art. In 1994 he opened an artist studio in Khartoum which aimed to engage critically with the significance of the artistic heritage of the country producing a new model of contemporary art. 


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.