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Habib Hajallie

Habib Hajallie

Loughborough University (Fine Art , 2017)

My practice looks to empower often marginalised minorities through the exploration of identity within portraiture. Confronting socio-political issues within my drawings can act as a catalyst for a discourse regarding the perception of various demographics as being of lesser humanistic value. Specifically, with the disenfranchised often being undermined by mainstream media; somewhat paradoxically reflecting an archaic hierarchy of status, similar to colonial ideologies.

Using antique texts and maps as the canvases for my works enables me to pragmatically re-contextualise ephemera, creating a cohesion between the concepts informing the work and the aesthetic output. As I empower various figures; I simultaneously do so with the ground used, presenting them within new contexts. Placing myself or family members as the subjects of my portraits evokes a sense of immediacy, apropos to navigating the intersection of my western upbringing and familial west African culture.
Informed by my Sierra Leonean and Lebanese heritage, I am conscious of representing figures that have historically been conspicuously omitted from traditional British portraiture. I call upon anecdotal references to portray scenes that are occasionally quasi surrealist representations; confronting lingering ethnocentrisms that are still embedded within modern western society.

I employ delicate mark making techniques with precise strokes of the everyday ballpoint pen. This process is influenced by sketches from the high renaissance. I meticulously build layers of tonality leading to an element of photorealism. Through an almost contradictory process of using this relatively modern art medium with a classical approach to mark making: I look to celebrate authentic drawing within the digital age.

At the core of my practice, I depict motifs that contradict largely accepted revisionist narratives apropos to West African Histories. The portraits investigate how identity can be constructed by historical oppression, with semblances of antiquated ideologies at the root of nuanced prejudices that I have personally experienced. Ultimately, my work looks to embolden individuals that feel as though they have been labelled as the ‘other’ in any manifestation.

In March 2022 I was elected as a member of the Royal Society of British Artists.


UK New Artist of The Year 2022 UKNA & Saatchi Gallery Winner 2022
The Drawing Society Annual Open The Drawing Society Winner 2021
Signature Art Prize 2020 Degree Art Winner 2020
Embracing Our Differences Winner 2020
Draw '19 The Drawing Society Winner 2019
Fine Art Trade Guild Winner 2016

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