Hassan Sharif(1951-2016) is widely regarded as one of the most prominent Emirati artists. His work has been regularly discussed in local and international exhibitions and columns. The recent exhibition presented by the Sharjah Art Foundation was a retrospective of his work, entitled Hassan Sharif: I am the Single Work Artist, curated by Hoor Al Qasimi.
Sharif was raised in the UAE and during his early career gained widespread popularity as a caricaturist. His artworks were regularly published in newspapers and magazines. These caricatures would usually poke fun at politics or materialism and even today they appear to be quite controversial. The 70s were a period when his unique artistic mind gradually took shape.
After moving to London in 1979 Sharif’s work began taking an entirely new direction. He began experimenting with performance art amongst other mediums. Although he would never really explain the theme behind his pieces, through written records it seems that he was interested in gauging public reaction. There are also a number of solo performance artworks that he conducted over the next few years.
Setup at Sharjah Central Market(1985). Reactions were recorded and photographed.
In the later stages his art involved working almost exclusively with objects. Sharifs connection with objects can be seen throughout his career. His love for vibrant colours lead to the creation of some of the most memorable sculptures that he built using everyday objects.
Cotton rope, acrylic paint, and copper wire. 240 x 535 x 10 cm, Image Courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation
Installation Area at Sharjah Art Foundation, Image Courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation
Sharif kept mostly to himself and lived a solitary life completely involved in his work. The two people that were largely involved in his life were his brother and nephew. They helped him put a few creations together although most artworks received little or no assistance from others
Hassan Sharif, Image Courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation/Estate of Hassan Sharif
The Sharjah Art Foundation has put together a unique retrospective that provides a rare glimpse into the mind of Sharif and his artistic journey.