Life, culture, and people are the catalysts of my work. Women are my biggest inspiration. I celebrate their strength and their individuality in my pieces (which is only natural, coming from a family of six incredibly strong women.)
Karachi, Dubai, Muscat, Los Angeles, New York – all places I have called home at some point in my life. Through all the movement and change, painting has been my constant. It is cathartic, it is my therapy. With each new home in each new city, my style has varied. I drew that change from each new culture I found myself assimilating to. The people and places I’ve been touched by are a part of each piece. In the past I depicted them in a realistic way. But now, with New York as home and acrylics as my medium of choice – I have found comfort in abstract forms. My paintings are a direct expression of my beliefs, perceptions and experiences. The compositions are a narrative that relays my inspiration whether it comes from love, joy, sadness or something purely mundane. Even though the emotions I draw from may be intense at times, the act of sliding paint-laden tools across a canvas is calming.
The painting process is an ongoing meditative visual communication with color, scale and lines as the imagery forms. The visual dialogue continues until the painting evolves and completes the expression of the inspiration. The result happens and its never planned.
The end product is not just for me, it is for the viewer as well. He or she can feel, interpret, analyze, and relate to any part of the piece that strikes them. It may mean exactly what it does to me, or it may inspire an entirely unique and different set of emotions. And that is what I love about art… its inherent subjectivity.
Roohi Saleem has exhibited her artwork internationally in one-person and group exhibitions throughout the Middle East and the United States in such venues as the Omani Society for Fine Arts, the Muscat Art Society, and the SUNY Purchase College NY. Her individual works of art as well as commissioned murals are in many private and public collections including the Former US Ambassador to Yemen, the Secretary General of the Tender Board of Oman, and the President of Oman National Bank. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from SUNY Purchase College, NY, Magna Cum Laude. She won an Honorable Mention Award from Manhattan Arts International in its “New Beginnings” exhibition, 2015 and is also featured in their ‘Artist Showcase gallery”.
“Roohi Saleem applies her innate sensitivity and design expertise to create expressive paintings that celebrate the female figure as a universal symbol of strength and resilience. Her concern for human conditions, global events, and inequalities bring a depth of perception to her animated paintings.” ~ Renee Phillips, Director, Manhattan Arts International.