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pring is in the air. Or so they say. At a time when we can easily experience a range of seasons in one day, it’s easy to remain sceptical about the prospect of consistently good weather. That said, it’s the time of year when social activities spring to life after a slow, almost dormant winter. And almost as if to mirror the appearance of flora and fauna, this is the time of year when the art world has its biggest outing. The Venice Biennale in Italy, in Dubai, the Berlin and the Liverpool Biennial are just a few which offer a showcase for international artists.

of Italy, Hassan’s first bout of creative expression was as a graffiti artist leaving his mark on the walls in his local city. A keen amateur boxer, Hassan was forced to hang up his gloves after being diagnosed with diabetes. This didn’t stop him from boxing; instead, it forced him to be more creative. You may have guessed by now that Hassan’s artwork


ooking forward


n The Spotlight

“Art is a never-ending search; an assimilation of past experiences combined with new experiences, in the form, the content, the material, the technique, the means.” - Bruno Munari, artist

If you are looking for ingenuity and innovation look no further. Contemporary art has been known to push the boundaries of perceptions but this is usually conveyed through materials used as opposed to techniques. Omar Hassan had not allowed this to deter him; he has boldly gone where only one other man to my recollection has gone before. A native


a way of asserting the dignity of Islamic art, which draws its origins from the aniconic mentality of nomadic desert tribes, the first to receive the message of the Prophet. In fact, it is not by chance that in previous works the artist pieced together a dialogue between abstract and calligraphic forms.” - Ivan Quaroni, the curator. Hassan was invited to exhibit his work at the Venice Biennale 2011.

islam today

March 2018

is influenced by his past experiences. Like most artists, his life informs his work. The difference with Hassan is his use of tools to create his artistic compositions, his boxing gloves. His most popular series of work is entitled ‘Breaking Through’ paintings and involves Hassan dipping his boxing gloves into an array of colourful paints before punching onto large white canvases, in a very physical display of strength, anger and cathartic energy. Through this ‘performance’, he celebrates the concept of boxing and introduces a new pictorial gesture that is both spontaneous and impactful. As is his other form of mark making, that of a multitude of sprayed dots that allude to the pixelated expression of moments. “I also sense in Omar Hassan’s gesture

The Sikka Art Fair is an initiative by Dubai Culture to showcase the work of artists resident in the United Arab Emirates and six other countries known as the Gulf Cooperation Council. The event presents the work of 45 artists chosen from over 200 applicants. Among the creatives are Bayo Hassan Bello, a Nigerian entrepreneur and co-founder of the Ajala project, an initiative which uses the Arts to raise awareness of social causes, Fatma Almohsen, a fine

Islam today issue 57 march 2018  
Islam today issue 57 march 2018