Syed Saleem Arif Quadri was born in Hyderabad, India and arrived in Britain aged seventeen when his family emigrated in the 1960s. He studied at Birmingham School of Art and then the Royal College in London. On graduating in 1975, he returned to India to rediscover the country he had known as a child. In the following years he travelled widely in North Africa, Europe and the Asian sub-continent, his work fusing and assimilating the influences of Eastern and Western cultures, including his own Indian and Islamic background.
He completed his first sculpture in 1969 but it was ‘Space Lattice’ which won him the ‘Young Sculptor of the Year Award’ in 1971.
Arif describes his urge to create as inherited from his parents: from his mother, an amateur painter, the urge to express himself in visual language; from his father, a surgeon with a passion for poetry, music and literature, the sense of curiosity which drove him to observe and explore the visible world with patience, restraint and perseverance. He describes the move to England as a ‘baptism of fire’.