FATHI HASSAN. SLAVERY
An awaited comeback for the solo show “Fathi Hassan. Slavery”: after ten years the African artist exhibits again at the gallery Andrea Ingenito Contemporary Art – his last show has been held in Naples in 2007 – after presenting his work around the world.
The exhibition in Milan will propose from September 19th to October 28th the production of the last years: about thirty works on canvas, paper and wood illustrating the ability to combine his Nubian roots – the region between Egypt and Sudan – and the artistic and cultural input of the West world. African roots and European education connect themselves harmoniously on the canvas making his art a place where cultures come together.
Writing as sign and images as writing make of Fathi Hassan an artist with a unmistakable style. Renown exponent of African contemporary art, Hassan has contributed to getting included the art of his country into the international debate, becoming a reference point for the new promises of his continent, but above all he is a bridge between two cultures: the African and the Western culture. This position, difficult and privileged, is experienced by the artist with greater responsibility than ever, especially in the current historical moment in which the Africans are living a new diaspora and are potentially exposed to a new kind of slavery. The artist: “Different feelings and harmonies come into play comparing European classical music to African or Arabic music. But still when I attend European concerts I think of the Nile, Gibran Khalil Gibran, Naguib Mahfouz and Omar Khayyam. I really do not know why, but I think there is a harmony that raises human beings beyond the prejudices.”
Hassan came to Italy in the early 1980s and came into contact with the Pop Art of those years, he realized that his language had to move in a different direction: combining the typical oral tradition of his land, Nubia, with the Middle Eastern calligraphy in order to remember his roots and to affirm his own identity. Today in the western world, where the written word is predominant over the pronounced one, the artist’s handwriting is a response to the need of representation of the ancient Nubian knowledge which has been orally transmitted.
It is a kind of musicality that emerges from the graphic embroidery of the Egyptian artist: his works provide the feeling of being in front of a “vision of sounds”, a sequence of litanies that evokes the traditional songs of African women.
Hassan saves the memory of the past that can no longer be entrusted only by the oral tradition, but he also does not alter its essence by imprisoning it into a definitive sign.
At the beginning of 2018 it’s also planned a solo show of the artist at the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio in Jesi