Abdul Rahim Salem, is a Dubai-based artist and credits his grandmother for encouraging him to pursue art. Michelangelo came to influence and fascinate Salem during his early teens and contributed to a process of self-reflection. Other key inspirations are magic, mysticism, darkness and light and geometry, which he tries to reflect in his paintings. Perhaps inspired by his grandmother, two other pivotal themes in Salem’s oeuvre are those of heritage and women. After obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Art with a specialisation in Sculpture from Cairo University in 1981, Salem returned to the UAE where he honed his practice, taught art in public schools and became one of the founders of the Emirates Fine Arts Society in 1980.
In 2005, Salem took part in Languages Of The Desert, an exhibition of Gulf artists at the Kunstmuseum in Bonn curated by Karin Adrian von Roques and Dieter Ronte, alongside fellow Emiratis Mohammed Kazem, Ebtisam Abdulaziz, Abdullah Al Saadi and Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim, among others. In 2010, Salem participated in the UAE Art exhibition at Cuadro Fine Art Gallery and was also the subject of a publication released in conjunction with the show, which featured the works of Abdul Qader Al Rais, Dr Najat Makki and Mohammed Mandi.