PO Box 2380 Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Hassan Sharif’s passion for education and mentoring the next generation of artists in the UAE continued in earnest this week when he welcomed local school children and university students to his ‘Experiments & Objects’ exhibition in the heart of Abu Dhabi.
Sharif, widely regarded as one of the most established contemporary Emirati artists of the UAE, conducted the discussion at his exhibition to further fulfil his devotion to inspire and work closely with young artists across country.
The exhibition, the first ever monographic exhibition for the Emirati artists, is a reflection of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage’s (ADACH) core mission to recognize and celebrate the UAE’s experience in the contemporary arts.
Sharif has spent most of his life trying to inform others about art and this week’s sessions for students underlined his commitment to education with the younger generation, which he admits has been one of the most important aspects of his career.
“I have always said education has been, and will continue to be one of the most important aspects of my career as an artist and I have been delighted to talk with local students this week," said Sharif.
“Working closely with youngsters to develop, encourage and promote their talents will always be my commitment to the local arts scene.”
Sharif has been an example for the generations that have followed him and he is an active mentor for some of them, including the likes of Mohamed Kazem, a pioneer in the use of video and new technologies in artistic creation in the UAE.
The foundation and the development of the Flying House, a museum of contemporary art, is an obvious result of Sharif’s inspiration and is helping today’s generation of Emirati artists.
His Excellency Mohammed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Advisor for Culture and Heritage in the Court of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage said: “Hassan Sharif continues to be an inspiration for young artists in this country and we are very proud that this exhibition has not only generated a huge amount of interest within the community but helped to be a form of inspiration for young aspiring artists who are keen to learn from him.”
“ADACH remains determined to provide platforms for artists to express themselves and for the next generation to continue to learn from and be inspired by cultural pioneers such as Hassan Sharif.”
Sharif’s own path to art also started when he was in school, he had a skill and passion for art, in addition to his other studies, Sharif had been taking applied art courses four hours a week where he copied pictures from a history book. “I painted the whole book, and the teacher, whom I can never forget, hung all my paintings on the classroom walls, and other students used to come and look at them,” Sharif recalls.
He then became known as the ‘Al Sha’ab – or Public School – painter, and the title has stuck ever since. The schools and university that participated in the sessions with Sharif this week included: Zayed University and a host of school children from Abu Dhabi.
The ‘Experiments & Objects’ exhibition at Qasr Al Hosn Cultural Quarter Hall showcases Sharif’s works from 1979 to 2011 and runs to June 17th 2011, it is open 7 days a week daily from 10am-10pm.
At next month’s Venice Biennale, during the Vernissage, ADACH will also be launching a monographic publication about Sharif’s works entitled “Hassan Sharif, Works 1973-2011”. This is the second consecutive presence of the Authority at the Venice Biennale.