Interview: UK exhibition honouring fiercely critical Libyan artist, Hasan Dhaimish, in last few days

A unique exhibition entitled Breezin’ honouring the late and esteemed Libyan artist, Hasan Dhaimish, is on show until 2nd April 2018 at the Pendle Heritage Centre. He was also known as AlSature, the meat cleaver, for his cutting representations of corrupt governance.

The discovery of oil cast a dark cloud over Libya; Dhaimish’s gilded life was irreversibly changed when his father publicly expressed that not all Libyans would benefit from the black gold beneath their feet. Refusing to be sentenced before a military court for his resistance to conscription, he obtained a visa and fled to the UK as he refused to serve a government he disagreed with.

He worked as an artist in the UK creating bold, effervescent pieces in addition to launching satirical cartoons at Gaddafi’s government. Thaqafa Magazine discusses the exhibition with exhibition organiser and son of the artist, Sherif Dhaimish.

What was your motivation behind organising the exhibition?

After my father passed, I knew the best way to allow his legacy to live on would be to organise an exhibition. The location was important for me – Pendle is our home and where we were born and raised. He has many friends here, and many who didn’t know what he’d been up to over the last few years of his life. It’s been a sort of informal, artistic, vibrant wake to celebrate a funky soul.

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Why did you call the exhibition ‘Breezin’?

Breezin’ is the name of George Benson’s most famous tracks and albums. He was one of my dad’s favourite musicians. The word seemed fitting for what I tried to achieve whilst putting it together.

What is your favourite piece of his and why?

Personally my favourite piece is Straight, No Chaser. It’s a profile portrait of jazz pianist, Thelonius Monk. It’s just an image I’ve seen recreated in so many different ways by my father, and a canvas that I’ll always have on display in my own home.

 What is it that you love most about his work?

The colours. I love them. I watched him paint all my life. I saw him create something from nothing and the colours he used were an expression of the music he loved. From soul to funk, African music to blues and jazz; folk to electronica. It’s the root of his art – it brings happiness into my life, and I know it does the same to so many others. Just like he did.

 

Would you hope to show his work in Libya some day?

I’d love to, and I wouldn’t hesitate to do so now if the right person was organising on the other end!

What has the response been like so far?

We’ve had an overwhelming amount of love from former students, friends, strangers, people who haven’t seen him for years. It has been a pleasure to educate people about my father’s life, as his satirical work was often kept away from people. He was loved by many for so many reasons; but the common ground for most of his relationships was a love for art and music. That’s how he’ll be remembered.

There are only a few days left to catch this exhibition at Pendle Heritage Centre, Park Hill, BB9 6JQ, Barrowford, Lancashire.

 

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