‘ I wonder how many times people give up just before a breakthrough – when they are on the very brink of success.’
– Joyce Meyer
Omar Hassan was born in 1987 in Milan, Italy. He was introduced to the world of art at the young age of fifteen, when his best friend, a prolific graffiti artist, encouraged him to experiment on the walls of the city. Unfortunately Hassan later witnessed his best friend fall to his death in one of Milan’s underground tunnels. It was this tragedy that sparked Hassan to do something with his life and use it to explore an array of opportunities.
Hassan soon found that he had a real talent and love for boxing. However his career was short lived, as he was unfortunately forced to abandon the competitive sport, after being diagnosed with diabetes. The illness disqualified him from professional boxing on the grounds of health and safety and meant that he then had to find something else to channel his passion into.
After his diagnosis, Hassan decided to return to his first love of art, investing all of his time and energy into creating his works. Hassan graduated from the Brera Academy of Fine Arts in 2010 and after several group and solo exhibitions, was invited by Vittorio Sgarbi (the curator of the Italian Pavilion) to exhibit at the 2011 54th Venice Biennale.
Since then, Hassan has participated in a number of solo exhibitions in Italy, Japan and the United States. Having been introduced to the art of spray and graffiti at a young age, it continues to be one of his primary instruments, however the ex-boxer has recently created a new technique for personal expression, which he is showcasing in his Breaking Through series.
Breaking Through exhibition
Omar Hassan’s first solo exhibition in the UK is currently taking place at the Contini Art Gallery and will be open until 10th June 2015. Hassan is exhibiting his new collection of works, which portray the merging of two diverse worlds, street and fine art.
As a way of documenting this important time in his life, Hassan has included ten paintings in the exhibition which he created using his new boxing-inspired technique. This technique involves dipping his boxing globes in paint and punching them sporadically onto a large white canvas. The Breaking Through collection displays the raw emotion, strength and determination of a talented ex-boxer, who has had to overcome numerous struggles in his life. Check out the artist in action below! (and a quick shot of me chatting away too :p)
Also part of the exhibition is Hassan’s #Injections series. These works are a direct reference to the insulin shots Hassan has to give himself on a daily basis. Despite his illness, Hassan shows a positive outlook in his paintings, with the use of light and bright bursts of colour.
The painting created by Hassan at his first UK exhibition opening was auctioned off to support Diabetes UK, a charity devoted to promoting awareness and caring for those with diabetes. The art gallery is also planning to make a contribution to Diabetes UK at the end of the exhibition.
If you admire the uniqueness and vibrancy of street art then you are certain to enjoy Hassan’s latest exhibition. Not only are his works vibrant, unique and full of colour but the fact they have been made in such an innovative way makes them well worth seeing.
You can view Omar Hassan‘s works at the Breaking Through exhibition at the Contini Art Gallery until the 10th June 2015.