Abdul Rahim Salem came from humble roots to establish himself as one of the UAE’s leading artists. Born in Dubai in 1955, he spent his childhood by the sea in Sharjah and Dubai. On the death of his father, his mother took him to live with his grandmother in the Kingdom of Bahrain, where she was employed in a large family house.
Salem’s artistic talent first attracted attention when, at the age of 14, he was invited to exhibit a series of sandstone sculptures at the Bahrain Annual Fine Arts Exhibition. In 1981, with a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts (Sculpture) from Egypt’s Cairo University, he returned to the UAE and became an art teacher in the public school system. In the years that followed, he exhibited his work at numerous Arab and international biennials as well as in group and solo exhibitions, and later become Chair of the Emirates Fine Arts Society. As the years passed, Salem began exploring performance art as well as installation art with fellow artist Hassan Sharif. Today, he works out of his studio in the Emirate of Sharjah and is also developing a series of children’s art books for the Ministry of Education.