Faika Al Hassan | Wanderings




As one embarks on a journey, he leaves behind his home and takes with him only what he deems essential. He packs into his ‘baggage’ that which he cannot do without.


It is this theme of baggage that forms the essence of Faika Al Hasan’s exhibition Wanderings... Al Hassan’s series of paintings are informed by her own personal baggage. Framed within the confines of aeroplane windows, each painting reveals an open suitcase spewing forth its surreal contents. A cast of little people and animals populate Al Hasan’s mindscape, bursting forth in a visual cacophony that begs the questions:


What is Al Hasan’s baggage?


While the superficial theme is that of travel, the real journey is the artist’s own life. Like the journey of the Fool in the Tarot deck, Al Hasan’s paintings, rich in symbolism, describe an inner journey which she negotiates laden with her baggage of past experience, hopes, fears and moral values. The wanderings that the artist visually refers to are not physical. The paintings are thus a visual description of the wanderings of her own mind.


Al Hasan does not impose a narrative of her cognitive wanderings but rather allows the rich cast of characters that drape over the props and spill over the sides of her old fashioned luggage to present the viewer with an invitation to decipher their meaning. By allowing the freedom to decipher her visual code in a way that resonates with his own unique experience, the artist engages the viewer in an intimate dialogue about what constitutes self.


The artist’s message is clear. Who we are is shaped by the emotional baggage that we accumulate over the years and that we carry with us on our journey, constantly allowing our minds to wander through it in an internal monologue that shapes our interaction with our surroundings.


- Khawla Mattar