For Emirati artist Abdul Raheem Salem Khamis, “a child is the only free artist in the world.” The charms of his childhood days became part of his personality. “How I wish I were a child more than an artist,” he said.
“We used to wait for the arrival of our relatives from Ras Al Khaimah loaded with small gifts.”
In addition to the influence of his childhood, Salem also bears the imprint of “Maheera,” a woman woven more from imagination than reality. It is the tale of an enchanting woman who refuses a marriage proposal from a man.
As revenge, he bewitches her and she becomes insane.
“This woman gave me insight and I fell in love with her. I sought to be her voice in my artwork since she cannot express herself,” Salem said. For him, Maheera was merely a window to his rich backyard of art.
Salem is one of the first UAE artists to contribute to its fine arts movement through teaching, organizing training workshops and embracing young talent.
He dedicated his life to depicting through his art the rapid changes of life. His country, the United Arab Emirates, has witnessed in relatively short time major economic developments.
He was born in 1955 in Dubai. He studied at Dubai’s public schools, and completed his university studies at the University of Cairo in Egypt, where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts and sculpture in 1981.
He began working as an art education teacher in Emirates schools, then went on to participate in several fairs and art festivals at the local, Gulf, Arab and international level.
He had an academic background in sculpture that culminated in a degree from Cairo. Salem has always remained loyal to the mystical world of art which had left indelible imprints in his subconscious mind.