Obeid Salem


The Standard 

Hadramout-born Artist, Obeid Salem, focuses on human life's simplicity and the enduring wonder of historical architecture. In his collection, The Standard, Salem's artwork is distinct in his technique of using concentric circles that originate at the centre of the painting to depict what the artist describes as "ordinary life." His entire collection, which features two acrylic paintings and four ink on paper illustrations, utilize his signature circle-technique. The method, developed from freehand drawing, is reminiscent of an innate human need for repetition and rituals. 

His acrylic pieces focus on people's conventional lives in Mukalla; neighbourhood shops, and local people gathering on streets and cafes. Salem left the pieces unfinished to reflect the psychological state of the subjects he drew. The acrylic set completes a unique Hadrami scene; men gather at a coffee shop, and across the street an ice cream truck roars. Although the scenes depict a dreamlike setting, the artist points out that "the kids enjoy their day, while the grown-ups carry the burdens of life." Salem’s treatment of the four illustrations utilizes the same circle technique but homogenizes traditional Yemeni dress and architecture based on region. The artwork features the Hadramout governorate, Mukalla city, Aden city, and Ta'izz city.

Obeid Salem


Obeid Salem is a self-taught Hadrami artist based in Riyadh. His work is inspired by everyday life and the simplicity of human nature. His most recent artworks are edging on surrealism and reflect the psychological state of being. Salem does this masterfully while preserving a unique Hadrami/Arab touch. In 2016, Salem developed a freehand circles technique that distinguished his work from other artists in the region. He used to randomly place the center of his circles on his paintings, but his process thoughtfully evolved. Over time, the center began to be placed over specific areas like the heart or the eyes in portraiture. Although Obeid excels in various mediums, he prefers to create artworks using acrylic paint and ink pens.

For more information about his practice, please visit his Twitter and follow him on Instagram.