Lawrie Shabibi is pleased to present Hemsat [Whispers], Fathi Hassan’s debut solo in Dubai. Comprising an anthological selection of never-before exhibited pictorial and text-based works, the exhibition traces the line of the forty-year career of this Nubian Egyptian artist. The title, recalling the breeze of the desert, evokes an environment where everything moves and changes continuously.
Fathi Hassan focuses on the interaction between spoken and written language. Single letters, words or entire sentences are repeated to form captivating yet illegible ‘texts’ that draw from Arabic calligraphy, abstract and figurative designs and symbols, allowing for shifting meaning and multiple interpretations of the words and invented graphic signs. Hassan’s dream-like stories explore issues of migration, memory, cultural belonging and loss. Born in Cairo to a Nubian family, Hassan has lived in Italy since 1984 and recently relocated to Scotland. His work reflects an identity in constant flux.
Hemsat brings together more than one hundred paintings and drawings, exploring the space between graphic symbolism and literal meaning. Diverse in style, their sizes span from postcard to large sheets. The selection is not exhaustive, instead focused as thematic groups that highlight certain aspects, while linking them all into a wider dialogue, a tale that seems to expand beyond the frame, which passes from work to work.