Born in Mauritania in 1984, Saleh Lô is a self-taught painter who acquired hyper-realistic painting techniques using online tutorials. His work tackles societal issues (street children, interbreeding and slavery) and any new creative project begins by establishing closeness with his subject. He mostly meets with street children in his neighborhood, spends time with them, goes to the same places and invites them to his home to get to know them better.
In the series entitled “Métissages” [Crossbreeding], the subjects are Saleh Lô’s relatives, themselves crossbred, subjecting themselves to his gaze, and in turn, to that of the spectator. The latter then perceive themselves as members of the same society, free of any complexes and proud of their origins.
“Libre ou esclave” [Free or enslaved] focuses on the descendants of slaves or freed slaves (from different communities: Harratine, Fulani and Soninke), whom he gets to know better before painting their faces on his canvas. These portraits restore some dignity to these marginalized people and shines a light on them by pulling them out of anonymity.