Lot 210 - Habib Hajallie - You Can't Touch my Hair Sue, Sorry
Fineliner pen on paper
Signed on Verso
This auction is raising proceeds for St Wilfrid's Hospice Eastbourne
Habib Hajallie (b.1995) is an elected member of The Royal Society of British Artists, the winner of The UK New Artist of The Year Award 2022 and was an honouree on Forbes’ prestigious 30 Under 30 list 2023. Hajallie looks to champion figures from ethnically diverse backgrounds that have conspicuously been omitted from traditional British portraiture. Through the exploration of identity within his ballpoint pen portraits; he looks to confront socio-political issues apropos to the perception of various demographics as being of lesser human value. Specifically, with minority groups often being further marginalised by mainstream media, reflecting an archaic hierarchy of status emblematic of colonial ideologies.
Habib strives to rectify the historic lack of visibility of figures from ethnic minority backgrounds. Therefore, questioning preconceived notions regarding what it means to be quintessentially British, as well as the uncomfortable nuances that are associated with this, is imperative for the artist. Though born in Southeast London, his drawings are often Informed by his Sierra Leonean and Lebanese heritage. By calling upon anecdotal references to portray scenes that are occasionally quasi-surrealist representations; the drawings look to confront lingering ethnocentrisms that are still embedded within modern western society. Using antique texts & maps as canvases enables Hajallie to pragmatically re-contextualise ephemera, creating a cohesion between the concepts informing the work and the figures he depicts. As he empowers various figures; he simultaneously does so with the ground used, presenting them within new contexts. Placing himself or family members as the subjects of my portraits evokes a sense of immediacy, apropos to navigating the intersection of his western upbringing and familial West African culture.
Specialising in the use of a monochrome medium such as the black ballpoint pen to celebrate Blackness, allows Habib to somewhat paradoxically, show that there is more to an individual than just the colour of their skin. He builds layers of tone with delicate mark making methods through precise strokes of the everyday ballpoint pen as he looks to celebrate authentic drawing within the digital age.
1-11 March 2023, Royal Society of British Artists Bicentennial Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London
10 November 2022, UK New Artist of The Year 2022, Saatchi Gallery, London
18 November - 5 December 2021, Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize 2021 - Trinity Buoy Wharf, London
18 January- 5 April, Embracing Our Differences 2020 – Sarasota Park, Florida, USA
27 July – 31 August 2019, Made Here – Guttenberg Arts Gallery, New Jersey, USA
5 December 2018 – 24 February 2019, Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2018 – South London Gallery, London
June 2023, The Hermione Hammond Drawing Award -Winner - New English Art Club
November 2022, UK New Artist of The Year 2022 - Winner - UKNA & Saatchi Gallery
July 2021, Young Artist Award - winner - Society of Graphic Fine Art
January 2020, Embracing Our Differences Exhibit 2020 – Best in Show – Embracing Our Differences Org
Statement about AOAP Submitted Artwork
Habib depicts motifs that challenge largely accepted revisionist narratives apropos to West African Histories, with semblances of antiquated ideologies at the root of nuanced prejudices that he has experienced. Ultimately, the work looks to catalyse a discourse and embolden individuals that feel as though they have been labelled as the ‘other’ in any manifestation.
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