(1951 - 2016)
Born in Dubai, he is arguably the most famous Emirati artist, he pursued ways of commenting on the UAE’s social landscape from as early as 1973 when he began drawing humorous caricature cartoons that were printed in local newspapers. In 1979, he was one of the first Emiratis to pursue an arts education abroad by studying in England. He obtained his Diploma in Fine Art and Design in 1984 when he graduated in the Byam Shaw School of Art. He fostered an interest in abstract and experimental art. One of his defining moments was a groundbreaking one-day exhibition that he and fellow artist Abdul Rahim Salem staged in Sharjah’s central market in 1985. Hassan Sharif was a founding member of the Emirates Fine Art Society and of the Art Atelier in the Youth Theater and Arts, Dubai. In 2007, he was one of four artists to establish The Flying House, a Dubai institution for promoting contemporary Emirati artists. The first Emirati to have his work shown in the Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Qatar, Sharif was also among the selected artists to represent the U.A.E. during its first national pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2009. In 2011, Sharif was the subject of a retrospective exhibition, Hassan Sharif: Experiments & Objects 1979-2011, curated by Catherine David and Mohammed Kazem and presented by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage/Platform for Visual Arts, U.A.E. His work has been shown in recent exhibitions at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Qatar (2016); the Sharjah Biennial (2015); New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2014); Fundação Casa França-Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil (2014); and the International Centre of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia (2012); among others. Sharif’s artwork is included in the collections of the Centre Pompidou, Paris; M+ Museum, Hong Kong; Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar; the Sharjah Art Museum, Sharjah, U.A.E.; the Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah; the Sittard Center, The Netherlands; and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., and Guggenheim, New York. Sharif’s work was on view at the Sharjah Art Foundation as part of the exhibitions Do It curated by Hoor Al Qasimi and Hans Ulrich Obrist, and 1980 — Today: Exhibitions in the United Arab Emirates curated by Hoor Al Qasimi and first featured at The National Pavilion United Arab Emirates at the 56th Venice Biennale, Italy.