Mourad Salem was born in Tunis in 1956. He moved to France where he received a doctorate in pharmacy. However, his admiration for painters such as Per Kirkeby and Francis Bacon convinced him to follow their footsteps and to start painting. Mourad Salem is self-taught. He lived in Canada, New York and Dublin and settled down in Paris in 2005. He had several solo exhibitions including “Sultans are no Sultans” with Rose Issa Projects at the Leighton House Museum in London in 2013 and “Fleurs qui annoncent le printemps” at the Galerie de la Médina in Tunis in 2000.
His works question historical leaders, often depicting them as immature power-hungry figures. Salem questions Arab world leaders of yester-year, which he affectionately portrays as figures of fun. His Sultans and Sultanas on canvas are surrounded with fake fur, floral accessories or elaborate frames, emphasizing their immaturity as figures of power. History shows that these were mostly leaders who did not lead but rather abused power or used religion as a tool for power. Salem’s work hints that old times may be returning.
In 1990, his works were shown in Mostra d’estate at Rapalano Terme in Sienna, Italy and Exposition d’été at the Centre Culturel Ibn Khaldounin Tunis. His works has also been showcased in the very prestigious exhibitions “Figuration Critique” and “Grands et Jeunes d’Aujourd’hui” at the Grand Palais in Paris respectively in 1990 and 1988. He has exhibited in numerous group shows including “Dégagement” and “Le corps découvert”, both at the Arab World Institute (IMA) in Paris in 2012 but also “Touches et Traces” at the Acropolium de Carthage, in Tunis in 1996. He Lives and works in Paris.