Hussein Al-Mohasen — graffiti the Saudi style



Rima Al-Mukhtar

Published — Wednesday 4 September 2013

Last update 1 October 2013 4:53 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

Saudi visual artist Hussein Al-Mohasen has been active in the art world in the Gulf region since he first appeared in 1999 at the Al-Janadriyah Festival in his native Saudi Arabia. Since then he has occupied a place alongside pioneering Saudi artists.
Al-Mohasen’s work, characterized by a singular dialogue between the audience and the artist, is a series of surgical incisions, cutting open the theater of horror and comedy, called the Middle East, into frozen frames. These images are never static. Al-Mohasen’s sharp-colored stenciled images translate into continuous and extended narratives of experiences that not only describe the world, but also actively participate in it.
Arab News interviewed Al-Mohasen and talked about his artwork and his inspiration.

Arab News: What is it about graffiti that attracted you to the art medium?
HM: “I started to experiment with graffiti art as I found it so inspiring to see people all over the world showing how they feel with just a few words, sprayed onto a wall. I find the physicality of creating this type of work liberating, as well as the spectrum of colors I have at my disposal. Color is very important in my work — the different connotations associated with certain colors embellish what I am saying.”

AN: Are there messages behind your artwork? What are they?
HM: “Culture is universal, rather than regional and I look at poetry to explore this idea that we have one common language. All the people in the world deserve to have peace.
“For example, in the artwork ‘Oil For Food,’ I am exploring the idea of freedom and food, and the idea that food should be a basic human right rather than a privilege.”

AN: What are the materials do you use in your art?
HM: “In most of my new work I am using mixed media on paper and canvas.

AN: What inspires you when working on an art piece?
HM: “There are so many things inspired me for my art. Reading books is very inspiring and meeting new people and listening to music for sure.”

AN: You showcased your artwork in so many places around the world. Tell us about this experience?
HM: “Each time I do an art show or show my artwork in any place I learn so many things. It’s so inspiring to me. I love to meet new people. I’ve had solo exhibitions in Dubai, Beirut, Jordan and Kuwait. In many Kingdom’s cities too, of course, and I’ve enjoyed each exhibition.”

AN: What do you think of the art scene in Saudi Arabia?
HM: “I am kind of happy about the art scene in Saudi Arabia. There are so many artists working so hard to make new art and trying to be different and many new art gallery have opened up in the past few years.”

AN: What does it take for Saudi Arabia to be leading in art world?
HM: “It’s all about art education, understanding art and to make art part of our life, not just for decorative art or for events. For this it’s very important to have art schools, art galleries, a museum of modern art and an art history museum. We should also support artists in our country, especially those who dedicate themselves as full time artists.”

AN: Tell us about your favorite graffiti art piece?
HM: “Most of my art pieces are important to me, but if I were forced to choose, I’d pick my Oil For Food artwork.”

AN: What is your next step?
HM: “I am working on my art this summer and I’m trying to attract the interest of new art galleries around the world.”

AN: Where do you wish to see your work?
HM: “I hope one day when we have an art museum for modern art in our country. I would like to see my work there.”

Email: [email protected]

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Social media is abuzz with the news of an 80-year-old man who has been relieved of his duties after working for four decades at the Prophet’s Mosque. Citizens have launched a campaign for the man, identified as Moqtada by publishing his photo...
DAMMAM: The World Heritage Committee of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has added the rock art in Hail to the World Heritage List. The addition was made during the committee’s 39th session in Bonn, Germany, and becam...
Huge projects change the faces of cities and great ambitions help create such projects. Madinah had its date with a quantum leap to usher in a new era of urban development. Such huge projects help achieve formidable civilization advancements and sign...
RIYADH: The Japanese ambassador to the Kingdom, Noriheiro Okoda, has held a meeting with Hashem Abdullah Yamani, president of the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A.CARE), and discussed bilateral cooperation in the fields of atom...
AL-BAHA: Forty three percent of Al-Baha cannot be developed easily because of the region’s mountainous terrain.This is the view of Khaled Al-Sayegh, undersecretary for construction at the municipality, who was speaking at an event held at the College...
JEDDAH: An official at the Council of Saudi Chambers said the council’s members are discussing a regulation to submit to the Ministry of Labor and other government agencies to deny a number of privileges to companies that force its labor to work unde...
ABHA: With many families wanting new furniture during Ramadan, furniture and interior decorating shops are raising prices to more than double what they were before the month.Homeowner Zaina Mohammed says she used to change her home furniture every Ra...
RIYADH: Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) President Prince Sultan bin Salman described the first visit by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman to Madinah as “historic.”In his comments following the visit which saw th...
MADINAH: Economists expected the volume of investments in Madinah’s economies during the coming few years to reach SR500 billion.The forecasted growth in the population, to reach 2.6 million people after 25 years, and the number of visitors to 12.2 m...
JEDDAH: It seems that many Saudi families are gradually coming to terms with the new reality of living in apartments, as building villas is not possible due to shortage of appropriate land.With the increasing display of housing units by the Ministry...
RIYADH: Migrant rights advocacy group Migrante-Middle East (M-ME) has lambasted their country’s leadership over the claim that the number of overseas Filipino workers are declining due to sustained economic growth in the Philippines.The group has cal...
RIYADH: A charitable foundation called “Smile” will be launched on Sunday night at the Al-Hokair Land in the Saudi capital to make people happy. “The foundation will be launched to make Saudi Arabia a center of smiles,” well-known television host and...
MAKKAH: The Kingdom has seen a sharp rise in the number of Umrah pilgrims to around 6 million from 1.5 million in the last 16 years. Moreover, the number of pilgrims overstaying their visas has come down to about 1 percent. The Ministry of Haj has be...
RIYADH: The King Khalid Foundation (KKF) said here recently that it has financed small enterprises (SMEs) run by 130 widows in some of the Kingdom’s provinces.KKF hosted an iftar party last week for local media at its headquarters in Riyadh at which...
JEDDAH: Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz bin Musaed, governor of the Northern Borders province, has died.He will be buried after Taraweeh prayers in Jeddah on Saturday, the Royal Court said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency. No other det...

Stay Connected

Facebook