Sayed, Sayed, 2013
My parents call me two different names. Mum pronounces my name ‘Saeed’, which in Arabic means ‘happy’ and Dad calls me ‘Syed’, which is actually the name of a caste; some Muslims don’t agree I can be called this. My first name is spelt s,a,y,e,d.
It took me a while before I felt comfortable pronouncing my name like my father does as my mother tongue is English, and when my dad tries to say my name like my mum it also doesn’t sound quite right. How my parents pronounce my name reveals a differences in their linguistic abilities and what they prefer the sound of.
I like the elasticity of my name and the idea of it not being fixed.
Untitled, Sayed Hasan, 2013
I made this photograph in my garden, that I’m in the process of weeding. Recently, I’ve been researching Shiite prayer and the act of prostrating on clean earth – which involves placing forehead and nose to the ground- in submission to Allah. I’ve been reflecting on my relationship with Islam and Christianity of late and will be making more imagery that explores my association and feelings toward them.
The job I do to pay the rent and the artistic work I present on my website represent two distinct spaces in my life, but they are not all together detached. The idea of making personal work in a school environment however, is fraught with problems. The following photograph was taken in the school I work in during my lunch break, inside a small room we refer to as ‘the quiet room’.
The above objects had been used in a lesson by two children I help to look after with a colleague and remained on the table. I have a short window in the day to sit down and have time to myself, so when the children are out playing or eating their dinner I often return to the quiet room for a moments peace.
Last night My Granddad’s Car was exhibited at Studio Marcel, Recylart in Brussels. Video projections of Karl’s and my journey to Pakistan and Nigerian, filled the intimate space of the unit below the rumbling rail tracks. A steady flow of late night art goers cruised through the many events of the evening, which included art and music, stopping by to look at the work and discuss our experiences. I took the opportunity to create a temporary sculpture outside studio Marcel, to mark the occasion, which was made possible by the kindness of the jolly Nicholas.
Special thanks also goes out to Vincen, Mustafa and all the Recyclart team, Claude and his Amigo’s, Karl (who couldn’t be there to enjoy his achievement) and Hannah.
Merci Beaucoup tout le monde!
Treading On Eggshells, 2013
As the egg sits on top of the iron anvil its fragility is obvious. I succumbed to the temptation of smashing it, rather than handling it with care.
My outlook on life and attitude towards relationships have been deeply influenced by my family history. Interpreting events from ones life is an on-going process, but it doesn’t stop at the self, as personal histories overlap.
Once certain family stories are told they leave a lasting impression on you. Sometimes they are outside of your own immediate experiences, but their impact is such, that they implant themselves like inherited memories, shaping your own views. They become pieces of a puzzle that you try and fit together with the glimpses of life you have seen, but the glass which you look through has already become tainted, so it is hard to look at things neutrally. I find myself wanting to explore such stories and memories as an artist, however, I’m conscious of the conflict between the personal worlds of others and individual expression.
Do I openly describe issues that are sensitive within family, or remain ambiguous? In fact, many of the stories and emotions I allude to are either unclear or unresolved.
Making this image was a way of sharing a story without writing biographical detail.
I have been in possession of the anvil of my Mum’s Dad for a while and have been wondering what to do with it. This object opens up a lot issues which I feel for the time being are best represented gradually through image making and words. I placed the anvil on an armchair Karl recently gave me, then suddenly remembered how my Grandfather used to pretend to lay eggs as he sat in his own favourite chair. As a young boy I believed him, but I wasn’t the only one…
The theme of this years Format festival ‘factory’ aroused a sense of sorrow for some visitors. I had a chance to speak to a former employee of Leys Malleable Castings Company, who had especially visited the market hall in Derby city to see the exhibition of photographs of his former work place, which closed in 1986. I asked him how he felt at seeing the black and white scenes of life inside the factory, he simply replied ‘sad’. For many people the show was more a nostalgic lament of a lost age, rather than a celebration of Derby’s industrial heritage. Click here to see an article on the Leys factory photographic archive.
It was absorbing to see shows that reflected changes in the UK’s economic and political landscape in addition to the documentation of industry and commerce across the globe.
A show I particularly enjoyed was Simon Roberts’ ‘This Is A Sign’, which was displayed in The Silk Mill – regarded as the world’s oldest factory – in the heart of Derby city. His collection of placards arranged in a corner of the ground floor gallery gave life to the otherwise dull interior of the historic building. Pinned against a wall beside the protestors detritus, a single large-scale photographic work represented Roberts photographic documentation of demonstration and the effects of political hot topics such as the current recession and austerity. Protestors Occupy Leeds City Council Chamber’s annual budget meeting, 23/02/11, was a striking image for it’s well composed depiction of revolt within the grand assembly hall and felt monumental, an effect of the contrast between opulence and anarchy.
The modest show was fun in spirit and I was drawn to the make your own sign table. I instantly set about making my own placard and added my contribution to the exhibition. I also took the chance to test out my new digital cameras ability to capture small detail, giving the message a nerdy double meaning. It was refreshing to have the freedom to interfere with the installation and have my say, which is a positive reflection on the sense of play the exhibition encourages.
Format 13 International Photography Festival runs until April 7th. Click here to find out more about the exhibitions and events around the city.