Mohamed Hassan

Portrait of Mohamed Hassan

Originally from Alexandria in Egypt, Mohamed Hassan has been living and working in Pembrokeshire, west Wales since 2007, and graduated with a First Class Honours degree in Photography from Carmarthen School of Art in 2016.

Living and studying in Wales has been pivotal to his journey as an artist. On exploring more of Wales, Mohamed found inspiration in the rugged landscapes around him. As a newcomer he has become captivated with its rich and artistic culture and language, steeped in ancient folklore and song – and has a continuing fascination in photographing people living and working in west Wales both outdoors in the natural environment of the area and in the studio.

Mohamed works in both black and white and colour, focusing on the mood and light of the scene. His work has subtle and subdued characteristics and aims to draw you into the image he is making, evoking an emotional response.

Mohamed has been shortlisted for several awards and competitions and his work has been exhibited at the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait exhibition in 2018 at the National Portrait Gallery in London, Elysium Swansea, Nova Cymru 2018, the prestigious Mission Gallery, the Waterfront National Museum in Wales and the Trajectory Showcase Competition Exhibition in Shoreditch, London.

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Witnessing Wales

For Many Voices, One Nation 2, Mohamed has produced a series of recent portraits of people living and working in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire in west Wales.

The Covid 19 pandemic has had a profound impact on society and communities. In west Wales the economy, heavily reliant on tourism and hospitality, has seen many people lose jobs or put on the furlough scheme, some communities have come together to support each other, whilst other have become more divided.

In Pembrokeshire there have been rising tensions around the rehoming of homeless people and the MoD plans to house over 200 asylum seekers in Penally, near Tenby with the camp being targeted by hard right extremist protestors resulting in heated exchanges with the Police; to counter this local groups have rallied to support the refugees. Pre-Covid events, such as Brexit, continue to add to the landscape of uncertainty and the future presents challenges for economic security, our social interactions and loneliness, and community solidarity.

This time is one of the most unsettled periods in recent history, these portraits provide a snapshot in time of people living and working in modern west Wales and explore the concept of Welsh national identity where the shared aspiration is for a nation where equality, diversity and inclusion is usual and everyday,

In this series of photographs I have portrayed people from different backgrounds who have gravitated to west Wales – to live, work or study and who have or have intrinsically evolved an unassailable sense of Welsh citizenship. Tom, a welsh-speaking physiotherapist working in the local hospital; Andy, a store manager from England who now considers Wales his spiritual home; Seren and Bethan, young welsh students – the daffodils they are holding suggests how they are all bonded to their Welsh ego: and David, a sculptor and printmaker living in Wales since the late 80’s, learning Welsh, his art is inspired by the local landscape he lives within.

Andy relates: “My university lecturer once told me that he was born in England but as a person he was from Wales. I moved here seven years ago and in that time I have found myself, my passion and my home. I am from Wales.”

The portraits ask questions about the relationship between identity and nationhood what divides us and what ties us together, what is Welshness, today and, in these rapidly changing times, poses a further conundrum on what this will be in the future.