SOAS University of London

Hassan Musa: the artist's stamp

Detail of a Sample Image from the Exhibition
Mail Art from the SOAS Archives & Special Collections and a sampler of his paintings and illustrated books

Date: 24 January 2019Time: 10:30 AM

Finishes: 23 March 2019Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: Exhibition Rooms

Type of Event: Exhibition

This exhibition features Hassan Musa’s small-scale works: Mail/Post Art, prints and books alongside four of his better-known, complex textile paintings. It provides an overview of his prolific, varied, critical and often satirical art practice that is staggering in its range and energy while at the same time rather intimate. Musa’s Mail Art offers fresh insights into his personality and creative process.

The embellished envelopes are “free art”, which arrive unsolicited in the regular post to delight those along the way and the recipient; the genre developed in the 1960’s as part of anti-establishment efforts of Pop Art. Hassan Musa (b. 1951, Sudan; lives and works in France) is a brilliant ‘bricoleur’ in how he assimilates and transforms images from differing visual cultures: western, Islamic and African art and in how he makes his own images; the range of his fine handwork includes calligraphy, stitchery, collage amongst other techniques.

The impetus for this show is the donation of Elsbeth Court’s personal collection of Musa’s Mail Art, which she has been receiving since the early 1990’s, to the SOAS Archives & Special Collections. The exhibition is curated by Ms Court with Charles Gore and John Hollingworth.

Dr Musa will give the SOAS-Sotheby’s Institute of Art [SIA] Artist’s Talk on 24th January 2019 at SIA, Bedford Square (registration required)

Musa’s ‘African Riddle to foil European art’

“The two tongues in my mouth never lie, even when they tell two contradictory facts. The two hearts in my chest never betray, even when they beat for several passions. And the two opposite roads I follow lead straight to destiny, even when they go around. Who am I? Mr African artist. So what!”

[12 February 1997; published in Memories & Modernities catalogue, 47th Venice Biennale]