Biography

Salma Ahmad Abdel Hamid Ghorab (me !) with my family and Mohammed Ali on the sofa in Riyadh

I was brought up across two cultures, a strict Islamic one and a Western British colonial one. An Egyptian father, a British mother, a childhood in Africa, attending a Catholic Missionary school, teenage years behind a veil in Saudi Arabia, summer holidays in Oxford, and working in the fields of art, art history, science and medicine are experiences and contrasts that indelibly inform my work, vision and critical positions.

These experiences, of being a so called ‘other’, a hybrid, living across cultures, across opposed religions, and across categories, mean I am deeply involved in forms of seeing, making and identities that have been marginalized.

I have trained through years of study, practice, drawing and observing from life and making from my imagination. I highly value this dynamic between unfettered imagination and observation. I have developed very distinctive ways of seeing.

I was awarded a place at the renowned Space Studios in London in 2002. I have held solo exhibitions in Oxford and London since 1995, most recently in 2009 at the well-known North Wall Arts Centre in North Oxford. I was chosen to exhibit at the inaugural Inspired Art Fair at the Truman Brewery in Brick Lane and at Canary Wharf. Many of my works have sold to private individuals, in England and abroad. I also fulfil private commissions.

In December 2010 I achieved a Distinction in my Masters in Art History/Theory. I explored the connection between visual forms and conceptual frameworks used in comprehending ‘grotesque’ decorative forms and ‘curiosities’ from ‘other’ pagan and non-Western cultures in the Renaissance.

I continue to use my practice to explore my identity and notions of body and self.

Recent Solo Exhibitions

2009 Intricate Tales – The North Wall Gallery, Summertown, Oxford

An exhibition of watercolour paintings that explored using the folk tale and folk crafts as a visual medium for telling and making stories about body, fate and identity. I explored notions of making a self in the intimate space of the imagination of the female maker / storyteller, carving, weaving and embroidering herself in and out of tales to escape her fate.

2009 Material.Maker – Blackwell Bookshop, Broad Street, Oxford

Seven watercolour paintings, each a material representing forms of embellishment and final stages in rituals of making. This was an exploration of notions of ‘embellishment’ and the relationships between hand/mind, painting/making, making/ material and making a material body/identity. Accompanied by a single text work consisting of a group of words relating making processes to rituals involving body, mind, hand and the incarnation of materials.

Other Selected Solo and Group Shows

2008 Red Slipper – Solo exhibition at Broad Canvas Gallery, Broad Street, Oxford

2004 Limited Edition – Solo Exhibition at Canary Wharf, London

2003 Inspired Art Fair – The Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London

1999 Orange Days Purple Nights – Solo Exhibition at the Chipping Norton Theatre Gallery

1998 Red Earth Blue Sky – Solo Exhibition with West Oxfordshire Arts Association

1996 Salma At Freud’s – Freud Café Jericho, Oxford

1995 Group Show – Oxford Playhouse Beaumont Street, Oxford

1992 Group Show – Bath University Campus, Bath, Somerset

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