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The Melrose Gallery is pleased to present ‘Garden of Carnal Delights’ in Cape Town following on a well-received run in Johannesburg. The exhibition will feature several of Hussein Salim’s works that were originally presented together with new works created in 2022.

Hussein Salim, Adam & Eve, 2021. Acrylic on canvas, 150 x 150cm. Courtesy of the artist & The Melrose Gallery.

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

Hussein Salim’s paintings are a dialogue between different cultures that represent his spirit articulate though art as a tool that both affects and initiates dialogue. Salim left his home country of Sudan as a refugee, and his works awaken in us an appreciation of our differences and diverse reactions, but bring us back to the shared foundation of mankind. A sense of displacement and a longing to return to his country has influenced the nostalgia in his art. His richly textured canvases employ an extravagant layering technique to create a dense impasto feel, using personal symbolism that is both ancient and contemporary.

Painting is an act of life not separated in its association with my self-reflection, which takes its own momentum and material. This way I create my identity as I work technically while trying to draw. I want my inner impressionist to constantly create a painting with me, depending on the cognitive and aesthetic space. – Hussein Salim

‘Garden of Carnal Delights’, represents the marriage of the world, and the manifestation of thought all bound to the circle of life. Salim’s 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 ideas of my drawings today need to be moved to a place where they can reverberate. I believe that it is not important for the artist to see their work receiving attention and curiosity, but rather to see it fertilizing some ideas and growing them. Therefore, I seek the logic of the quest to create common foundations for culture as an independent universe. – Hussein Salim

For Salim, it is always a process to fully create the replicas of his view of space, atmosphere and the “ins-and-outs” of these microcosms. Most people today are living for the next moment thereby devaluing the present moment and the sacred essence of who we are as people. We can enjoy this world of form but true satisfaction does not come from there. The world cannot make you happy. Things cannot give you happiness. Because happiness comes from a deeper place within you. Therefore, this exhibition is a call for a coming into or stepping into the acceptance of a present moment. As Salim says there must be a full mindset movement from the paradigm to carry out this task to another level of inner spirituality.

The desire to reach and reveal intimate personal scenes is not to show more of life, but more from life. If one can put their eyes and their minds on the wounds and secrets of their intimate personal stories that they try to conceal. Through Salim’s works of art, their desires to search for their own character grows, because painting is always a process of creating a place depicting the inside and the outside of an artist’s mind and their audience. It is an extreme effort that tries to respond to the simple and beautiful little things that are absent from us but simultaneously can heal us. It is the silent conversation, which is the teaching of the careful listening of things and their observance.

The exhibition will launch on 9 June at 6:30pm and runs until 3 July 2022 at The Melrose Gallery’s space in the One & Only at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa. For more information, please visit The Melrose Gallery.

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