Born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in 1970, Kambi first started to draw because of an argument he and with his friend Gibson. They exchanged caricatures of each other, competing with pen and paper for many years. By the end of primary school, they were both nominated as best artists of the school.
After finishing secondary school, Kambi was chosen by a Belgian company to go to Kampala, Uganda, where for three years he worked as an artist. After that he returned to Tanzania where he met the famous East African artist, Mohamed Raza, and his son. “They taught me a lot about art and painting.”
Kambi is predominantly an abstract artist working in oil and acrylic on canvas or paper. Kambi says: “I bring out a totally different approach to canvas oil and acrylic painting. My technique is to use either a palate knife or a fine brush, and sometimes both. I love to paint women as I strongly feel that women in Africa sacrifice a lot for their families. They combine strength and perseverance, and lift their families out of hardship through their never-ending commitments.”
He has participated in exhibitions in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and in 2004 he was the first Tanzanian artist to be selected for the African Art Festival in Rome, Italy. The same year one of his pieces was chosen for the new reception building of the State House, Dar es Salaam.
Since then, his has had six solo exhibitions in Dar es Salaam and his works have been shown and collected in several countries Finland, Sweden, Germany, Netherlands, and Italy). In 2007 one of his works was chosen for the home of Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete. Salum Kambi made his American solo debut at U*Space Gallery in 2008. The artist is a member of the WASANII arts Group.