In addition to the exhibition, the arts centre offered to local schools the opportunity to work with Saleem, who would provide workshops for all Primary age groups, at a modest cost. I very quickly showed an interest, but no-one else apparently did; we were offered Saleem for ten days at very modest cost, if we could also offer some accommodation. One of my staff was prepared to do that, which was very generous.
Sharing a broad range of techniques as a starter, older children explored the creation of textures in paint, using sand, sawdust and earth. They used scrapers, spatulas, other broad bladed objects as well as paint brushes to apply the paint to different prepared surfaces.
Year six decided that they would like to recreate one of Saleem’s recent pictures, so working large, approximately 5m by 3m, they drew the shapes, then started using the learned techniques to fill them in, sometimes working through their lunchtimes to complete the task while Saleem was in the school.
Saleem came to dinner with my family, entrancing the children, in part because he simply integrated with the family, rather than being an aloof guest. Leaving a signed catalogue of his 1986-1991 works inspired our eldest, then aged eleven to explore for herself. It was this piece of paper dropping from the catalogue that brought back the memories.
It was then a case of finding the right people… Many thanks to Saleem for making our first experiences so positive.
Saleem's website adds much greater biographical detail and an extended gallery.