Pioneer Artist from the UAE, Hassan Sharif, has died

Words by Elena Scarpa
September 19, 2016

Hassan Sharif had died yesterday, the artist was 65 years old. He was considered one of the founders of conceptual art in the Middle East.

Sharif (born 1951, Dubai) lives and works in Dubai. He has made a vital contribution to conceptual art and experimental practice in the Middle East through 40 years of performances, installations, drawing, painting, and assemblage. Prior to leaving the UAE to study in England in 1979, Sharif gained attention for his cartoons published in the UAE press – ironic, outspoken critiques of the rapid industrialisation of the Emirates and political deadlock of 1970s Arab Nationalism. As an artist, he rejected calligraphic abstraction, which was becoming the dominant discourse in the Middle East at that time, and pursued instead a pointedly contemporary vocabulary, drawing on the non-elitism and intermedia of Fluxus and the potential in British Constructionism’s systemic processes of making.

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