Fathi Hassan was born in Cairo in 1957 to Sudanese and Egyptian parents. He won a grant to study set design at the Naples Art School in Italy. Since graduating in 1984, he has lived in Le Marche, Italy. In his drawings, paintings, sculptures and installations, Hassan experiments with the written and spoken word, exploring the theme of ancient languages erased by colonial domination. With invented, Kufic-inspired scripts, he plays with the symbols, textures and calligraphy of his Nubian heritage to explore the space between graphic symbolism and literal meaning in vibrant colours and collage. As well as the solo show, “Fathi Hassan: Haram Aleikum”, curated by Rose Issa Projects at Leighton House Museum, London, in 2010 he participated in “Arabicity – Arabi” curated by Rose Issa Projects at the Beirut Exhibition Center, Lebanon and “Arabicity – Such a Near East” curated by Rose Issa Projects at the Bluecoat Art Centre, Liverpool.
Over the past 30 years he has participated in numerous solo and group shows in Italy (including the 1988 Venice Biennale), Belgium, Denmark, Egypt, and New York. Recent solo exhibitions include Fathi Hassan, Leighton House Museum (2010); Nigger, Palazzo del Duca, Senigallia (2010); Tasaheel, Centro d’Arte L’idioma, Ascoli Piceno (2010); Kenuz, Domus Artis, Naples (2009); the Dakar Biennial (2008); a solo show at the Museo Nazionale Villa Pisani, Venice (2008); the group shows Arabicity at the Bluecoat Arts Centre, Liverpool, and Beirut Exhibition Center, Lebanon (2010); Text Messages at the October Gallery, London (2006); and an installation at The Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington DC (2002).
His work is in the permanent collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum and the British Museum, London and The Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington DC.