Hassan El SharkFollow Artist
Early Beginnings: Hassan El Shark's Artistic Journey
A highly acclaimed, self-taught Egyptian artist, Hassan El Shark was born in the village of Zawyet Sultan in Minya. El Shark’s talent was evident early on when, as a boy, he began creating art with materials he came across, including the paper that his father – the local butcher – used to wrap up meat for customers. He was, in fact, expected to enter the family business, like his brothers, but chose to focus on art instead.
Innovative Techniques: The Making of a Unique Palette
Ever resourceful, Hassan El Shark also created his own colours, extracting pigments from the spices sold in the village and foliage, among other products of Mother Nature. This technique, which was used by the ancient Egyptians and which he retained, gave his art its hallmark vibrant colour palette.
Tradition and Inspiration: El Shark's Muse
The past was a key source of inspiration for El Shark in his paintings, from the rich heritage and archaeological treasures of Zawyet Sultan to folklore, age-old cultural traditions and larger-than-life village characters.
Depicting Everyday Life: The Essence of El Shark's Work
Typical scenes captured by El Shark include villagers in traditional clothing going about their everyday routine, from mustachioed men selling fruit and vegetables in markets, making music or travelling by camel or donkey against a backdrop of palm trees, to women, complete with decorative jewellery, carrying large clay pots on their tilted heads.
El Shark’s International Acclaim: From Local to Global
It was the German art critic Ursula Schernig who first introduced El Shark’s art to Europe. Having spotted his talent, she organised an exhibition of his work at a gallery in Stuttgart in the late 1980s, which sold out. Further successful shows soon followed in key locations in Europe, including Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy and the Netherlands.
Cultural Ambassador: El Shark's Worldwide Recognition
El Shark’s art was also exhibited across the Middle East, in centres in Kuwait and Lebanon, among others. In time, the artist became a cultural ambassador for the Americas, earning him recognition farther afield.
A Legacy Cemented: El Shark’s Museum and International Collections
Back in Egypt, El Shark opened his own museum in Minya which quickly became a draw for tourists. El Shark’s work remains popular among collectors today and features in permanent collections worldwide.
Prestigious institutions where his art can be found include the Louvre Museum, the Berlin Museum, the National Museum of Beirut, the National Art Museum in Colombia, the Egyptian Academy in Rome and the New Mexico History Museum.