Artist talk with Salad Hilowle, 2023

Salad Hilowle, born in 1986 in Mogadishu, Somalia, is a Stockholm-based artist, filmmaker and writer. His visual language subtly traces historical narratives and illuminates new ways of reading our history. In-depth archival work is a major part of Salad’s artistic process, which he uses as a staring point to make black subjects visible in a Swedish context, raising questions about colonialism, racialization and exotification for example.

In several of Salad’s works, he uses the Somali-Swedish diaspora as a base, allowing the works to be both personal and incisive. He came to Sweden at the age of seven and grew up in Gävle, which the viewer can sense in the award-winning short films Erinra, Brev till Sverige and Waryaa. Through his delicate visualization and poetic narrative, he creates films that explore memories, home and interpersonal relationships, stories that touches and stay with the viewer long after the ending of the film.

Salad works with a wide range of expressions, such as sculpture, film, photography, text, paintings, collage and textile works. Throughout his work, he touches on the African diaspora in a Swedish context, where he highlights both history and the present.

“My last exhibition Somalitown, which I did at Cecilia Hillström Gallery, came about because I heard that the then PM, Magdalena Andersson, expressed herself rather clumsily during the election campaign in 2022: We don’t want Somalitown, Chinatown or Little Italy. And that was something I reacted to. Why did our former PM say that? I think that every town in the world, Chinatown, Somailtown, Little Italy and vice versa have existed for a long time, so what I did is that I toke that statement and react to it.”

Exhibitions: 

  • 3,5% på Bångska våningen, år 2019
  • Home Is Where the Heart Is: Part II, Österängens konsthall år 2020
  • Vanus Labor på Konstakademien, år 2021
  • Publikt, Kulturhuset år 2021
  • Homecoming, Länsmuseet i Gävle år 2022
  • Enighetens färd, Eskilstuna konstmuseum år 2023
  • Somalitown, Cecilia Hillstrom Gallery, år 2023

Short films:

  • Erinra, 2015
  • Brev till Sverige, 2017
  • Wayraa, 2018
  • Passion of Remembrance, 2020
  • Stad nr 13, 2020
  • Vanus Labor, 2021
  • Postcards from the North, 2021
  • Sylwan, 2022

Education:

  • Konstfack, 2018
  • Kungliga konsthögskolan, 2020

Scholarships:

  • Engmansstipendiet, 2015
  • Bernadottestipendiet, 2020
  • Svenska Filmakademins stipendium till minne av Kurt Linder, 2021

Photographer: Matilda Rahm

Part of the exhibition 3,5% at Bångska Våningen, September 2019

Art curator:
Sarah Svärd Tawiah


With the support of: