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“My art was born due to the enormous emotional and mental turmoil my wife, my kids and I went through dealing with this disease.”

A Tapestry of Influences: Origins of Moussa Salman

Moussa Salman, an Egyptian/Dutch self-taught artist, traces his roots back to the vibrant city of Cairo, where he was born in 1952. This bustling metropolis cradled the beginnings of his multifaceted journey, which was later enriched by academic pursuits in Amsterdam. In the Dutch capital, he pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Education. At the age of 70 years old, he pursued a Master’s degree in Contemporary Arabic Studies. Yet, the foundation of his academic ventures was laid in Cairo, where he delved into the world of Economy.

Artistry for Salman wasn’t a predetermined path but a refuge during life’s tumultuous storms. The year 1999 marked a heart-rending chapter in his life when his daughter was diagnosed at birth with the rare skin condition, Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB). The weight of this revelation led him to art in 2000 as a channel for his overwhelming emotions. Despite no prior experience in painting or sketching, on her first birthday, he was writing a poem which turned miraculously into strange drawings, pouring his soul onto the paper, where his art journey began. Simultaneously, his Egyptian upbringing, abundant in its diverse artistic legacies spanning ancient Egyptian, Greek, Coptic, Islamic traditions, and modern Egyptian artistry, continually shaped his style. Furthermore, Salman’s connection to his homeland wasn’t limited to visual arts; he also expressed his cultural ties through Arabic poetry.

The Evolution of Moussa Salman: Artistic Renaissance in Amsterdam

The city of Amsterdam welcomed Salman in 1973, providing a fresh canvas for his artistic expressions. Soon after settling in, he found himself amid the treasures of the Van Gogh Museum. Working there, Salman was surrounded by unparalleled artistic masterpieces, leaving an indelible impression on him. His involvement in the Dutch art scene further intensified between 1976 and 1978, as he undertook the unique task of promoting Egyptian films in the country. Using his hands, Salman crafted promotional materials from movie posters in an era where digital tools remained a vision of the future. From 1980 to 1987, he ventured into a different avenue of the art world. Owning a restaurant, he curated art displays, bringing pieces from various institutions to the spotlight, broadening his appreciation and comprehension of the art world.

Salman’s artistic evolution continued in the 90s, where he embraced the world of photography, mastering the nuances of color mixing and photo development. By 2017, as his role in his family evolved, he channeled his lifelong passion for art into a professional endeavor. Launching an Instagram page, Salman began to immerse himself in digital painting and mixed media. This venture into the digital domain amplified his reach, paving the way for his notable contributions to art competitions, exhibitions, and publications.

Moussa Salman: Navigating Inspirations from Masters to Modern Challenges

Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Joan Miró, Corneille Guillaume Beverloo, and Karel Appel are luminaries who have greatly impacted Salman’s artistic trajectory. His style, predominantly grounded in abstract expressionism, evolved over time from simple hand sketches to acrylic paintings on canvas and lately digital painting and mixed media. Through his artwork, Salman courageously confronts a host of global challenges, ranging from climate change and human rights violations to the present-day societal quandaries of loneliness and misinformation.

Among his myriad creations, two stand out due to their deep personal significance. The artwork titled “Struggle,” initiated as a sketch in 2000 and completed as a painting in 2017, vividly portrays the emotional upheaval stemming from his daughter’s ailment. With its vibrant colors, abstract designs, and intersecting black lines, the piece beautifully yet chaotically encapsulates life’s unpredictability. Another masterstroke, “The Fisherman,” painted during the same timeframe, employs abstract symbols to delve into life’s uncertainties. Salman’s choice of medium has witnessed a gradual transformation: from the simple allure of paper to the textured embrace of wood and acrylic, and finally the expansive canvas. Nevertheless, as the artist ventures into advanced mediums, he remains fondly tethered to that initial paper that bore the ink of his very first poetic expressions dedicated to his daughter.

Salman’s Vision: Beyond Canvas and Into the World

As Salman’s artistic voyage continues to unfold, his aspirations soar beyond the confines of the canvas. He dreams of conceptualizing and bringing to life public installations or sculptures, a territory still uncharted for him. He expresses a keen interest in creating monumental artworks that not only inspire but also propose innovative solutions, be it for clean energy, assisting the differently-abled, or designing earthquake-resistant structures.

Salman views his workspace as more than just a room; it’s a sacred haven of creativity. He emphasizes the importance of silence, clarity of thought, and a genuine inclination to create. For him, naming an artwork is an integral part of the creative process, offering audiences a lens into his conceptual universe. While distractions or dissatisfaction might momentarily disrupt his flow, Salman’s approach is reflective. He often pauses, revisits, and perfects, whether in art or poetry.

To encapsulate, Moussa Salman’s journey in the arts is a symphony of personal experiences, cultural imprints, and professional endeavors. Each phase of his life has intricately woven into his creations, painting a tapestry that is undeniably him, embodying his beliefs, memories, and aspirations.

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