Why Safwat Saleem Is “Concerned But Powerless”

Why Safwat Saleem Is “Concerned But Powerless”

By Jason Keil

Safwat Saleem isn’t sure what he has to do to earn the title of artist.

“I call myself a graphic designer without hesitation because I am confident about my work,” he says. “I can get away with being a graphic designer who sometimes makes art as opposed to being an artist.”

But the TED Senior Fellow’s feelings on choosing a creative label (he’s also an animator and director) are less complicated than his reaction the 2016 presidential election. The Pakistani-American says he felt worried, helpless, and disheartened over what was taking place. He created art to cope.

“Art is nothing at all, but it’s all I can do right now,” he says.

Saleem’s exhibition “Concerned But Powerless” combines found imagery from vintage advertisements, Urdu typography, and acerbic phrases to create a distinctive and satirical work that touches on the social issues magnified by the election of Donald Trump.

Read the full article in the Phoenix New Times