Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hassan Massoudy

I am so incredibly inspired by Iraqi art. I don't know if being Iraqi plays a big part in my fascination for it, but I am incredibly proud to be from a country that has an amazing reputation for artists. Today's featured artist is Hassan Massoudy. For more on Hassan Massoudy click here.

Hassan Massoudy was born in 1944 in Najaf, South of Iraq. He grew up amid the scalding heat of the desert, in a traditional Iraqi society characterised by strong religious beliefs, a high sense of solidarity and a keenness for festive gatherings.

In 1961 he left for Baghdad and started working as an apprentice for various calligraphers. He visited exhibitions of modern art which fascinated him and from then on, started to dream of studying art. The unfolding political events and ensuing dictatorship prevented him to do so. He eventually left Iraq for France in 1969, freed from the oppressing regime but heartbroken. He got to the "Ecole des Beaux-Arts" of Paris where he first worked on figurative painting. But he did not stop calligraphy altogether; to pay for his studies, he was doing headlines in calligraphy for Arabic magazines. Over the years, calligraphy progressively got into his figurative painting and eventually took its place.

Creations from Hassan Massoudy are a subtle mix of present and past, oriental and occidental art, tradition and modernity. He perpetuates tradition while braking from it.calligraphies comes from the movement of the lines, their lightness, their transparency, the balance between black, white, emptiness and fullness, the concrete and the abstract. From his training as a calligrapher in Iraq, Hassan Massoudy has kept the noble spirit of the craftsman who creates or invents his own tools and prepares his own inks.

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