Born in 1970 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. East African painter Salum Kambi, first started to draw because of an argument he had with a friend. "We exchanged nasty caricatures of each other and fought with pen and paper for several years. By the end of primary school, we were voted the best artists of the school."
When he was in secondary school, Kambi was chosen to be the school's official artist. "I entered a competition related to research on chimpanzees in the Gombe Forest in Kigoma (western Tanzania) and was one of five artists selected as the winners and had the chance to meet former President Mwalimu Julius Nyerere."
The Tanzania artist works primarily in oil & acrylic. Kambi's technique, in which he uses either a palate knife or a fine brush, sometimes both can best be described as a coming together of Lyrical Abstraction & Fauvism. The result of combining the two? Breathtaking works that burn with a bold yet accessible color intensity.
The achingly rich color palate found in his works is made all the more striking when one realizes that amazingly, he has had no formal art training.
After finishing secondary school, Kambi was chosen by a Belgian company to go to Kampala, Uganda, where for three years he worked as an artist. After that he returned to Tanzania where he met the famous East African artist, Mohamed Raza, and his son. "They taught me a lot about art and painting."
Later, Kambi joined a group of artists who were doing sign-making and worked with them for three years. During which time he was introduced to Mr. Mwenesi an artist from the University of Dar es Salaam. Kambi studied with him for six months. From there he joined a group of cartoonists, and worked with the famous cartoonist Gado (Godfrey Mwampemba). "Having no formal art training. I acquired my skills with the help of these fellow Tanzanians artists, and while attending art workshops in Dar es Salaam.
In 2004, Salum Kambi was the first Tanzanian artist to be selected for the Africa Festival in Rome, Italy. That same year, one of his paintings was chosen for the reception building of the State House in Dar es Salaam. Since then, his has had six solo exhibitions in Dar es Salaam and his works have been shown and collected in several countries Finland, Sweden, Germany, Netherlands, and Italy). In 2007 one of his works was chosen for the home of Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete. Salum Kambi made his American solo debut at U*Space Gallery in 2008. The artist is a member of the WASANII arts Group.
For Me, art is all about color. I use color to depict feelings
of people, landscapes, animals. - Salum Kambi
The artist currently resides in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.