MARIEM HASSAN 1958 – 2015

MARIEM HASSAN 1958 – 2015
A tribute to the women of Western Sahara
by Bettina Semmer, Tindouf 2015

 

„Mariem Hassan 1958-2015“ is a mural, placed on the outside wall of the Union National de Mujeres Saharauis(the national women’s association of Western Sahara), which was planned and executed by myself, Bettina Semmer in November 2015 in Boujdour/refugee camps during the 9th edition of ARTifariti.

Divided in two by the entrance, the wall has a portrait of MH singing to the left of the gate,  and five figures that portray her dancing during a concert on the right.

This division marks a duality of beauty: the beauty of outer shape and colour (the singer in a blue melfa, with pretty face and traditional head jewelry), and the beauty of movement or action, as seen in the dancing multitude of figures in black, on the right. One could also project a duality of Apollinian and Dionysian attitude into the two sides of the mural: wild dance, with hardly discernable features, on the right, and calm composed expression with Mother-Mary-like body language on the left.

This is not some kind of personality cult, nor the simple portraiture of MH, even though she is probably one of the finest examples in world music  of a combination of tradition, political resistance and a unique voice, deserving far wider recognition than she already has. To paint  her in the year when her life ended – prematurely caused by a terminal illness, that finally prompted her to return to her people in the refugee camps – would be reason  enough. But there is more to it: I used the figurative representation of MH, together with words (This exile is too much – Morocco out – freee Sahara now!) and concrete shapes (the two big, intersectioned circles on the left as well as many smaller spheres on the right) to make up a postmodern, readable narrative in many facets.

The stylistic eclecticism gives room for imagination, for making connections and for free play of creative readingwhich is one of the most rewarding things in art/life. Last but not least, the mural serves as a huge opportunity to have one’s portrait taken there, should one agree with the words, thereby sending out a message to the world.

Colour has always been a great attractor, associated with experiences out of the normal everyday life (church windows, medieval art and it’s rare and costly pigments), with exultation, joy and lust for life. Specific colours have been said to have powers over the mind-body-unit, as in colour psychoogy and therapy.

The intersections of the larger circles on the left are inspired by Barbara Steppe, who in turn takes her inspiration from Otto Neurath, the inventor of graphics for statistics. They can be read as depictions of states of mind, of a country’s socio-economic order (or disorder), as arbitrary as the world’s division of riches, or merely as formal play. They are based on Mandalas with their power to focus the mind.

The priority was to make something understandable, readable, a common narrative combined with decorative elements, and also a tribute to the strength and beauty of Saharaui women. It would not occur to me to alienate the ladies who run the place, (Fatma, Hassina) so a meeting over the drafts preceeded the actual painting process. Occasionally, children from the nearby school and neighbourhood would assist, even in my absence adorning the wall with handprints and marking the faces with pink dots, making this piece complete. This fits in with my general approach of taking participation seriously, and incorporating into my work what I find in a place, and in its people.

I hope to contribute to a free Sahara where people can live in dignity, without being oppressed by a hostile regime, and where the Saharaui’s talent for a good life, as we as particpants know it, can blossom in a peaceful surrounding, in independance.

 

MH_withpeople_web
Many local children also helped
MH_rightside_web
Final presentation with the director Hassina and her assistant
MH_rightwithIsmail_web
Ismail Banan, artist and calligrapher, is one of the few adults colaborating

shows and interventions

DSC01903
HeldInnen des Hedonismus/If it’s not baroque don’t fix it, Broken Graffiti No2
HeldInnen des Hedonismus, Broken Graffiti no2, als Teil von Faszination und Fassade, Künstlerische Einmischung in Potsdam
HeldInnen des Hedonismus, Broken Graffiti no2, als Teil von Faszination und Fassade, Künstlerische Einmischung in Potsdam
2014datgalerie
Die Mitte ist der Rand, DAT Galerie Berlin, 2014
2014stunninglefthook_semmer
A stunning left hook, 2014, at SEMMER BERLIN
2013Ende
ENDE, Kunstverein Schwerin, 2012
Ausstellung Semmer-Berlin-2013
Prinzip Collage, SEMMER BERLIN 2012-13
Ausstellung Semmer-Berlin-2013
Prinzip Collage, SEMMER BERLIN, 2012-13 (Set of Cards by Felix Bahret and Babette Semmer)
Afrika_install
Das Afrika Dreieck, BVBK Galerie Potsdam, 2012
Willkür mit Kontrast, 2010 at Transient, Berlin, curated with Robert Mueller-Moa
Willkür mit Kontrast, 2010, Transient, Berlin, curated with Robert Mueller-Moa
2010sahara
Where are the disappeared Saharauis? 2010 in Tifariti
2011DerZeugeCrone
Galerie Crone, Jubiläumsausstellung, 2009
2007ClubvonBerlin1
“Still”, installation of portraits with historical portrait, Club von Berlin, 2008
2008ErdbebenGallery33
Family EarthQuake, 2008 at Gallery 33, with Maria Linares, Ina Bruchlos, Ana Maria Millan and Andres Sandoval
2001installationview20
Painting Factory, Spacex Gallery, Exeter, 2001
Koether, Semmer, Tockel, 1985, La Maquina Espanola, Sevilla
Koether, Semmer, Trockel, 1985, La Maquina Espanola, Sevilla

2014 – A Stunning Left Hook

2014good_clothes_bad_people?
Defining good and bad, 2014, oil on canvas, 150 x 105 cm
JibbyBeans
Jibby Bean, 2014, Oil on canvas, 210 x 150 cm

 

The cynicism of freedom, 2014, oil on canvas, 150 x 210 cm
The cynicism of freedom, 2014, oil on canvas, 150 x 210 cm
Erde im Chaos, 2014, oil on canvas, 150x160cm
Erde im Chaos, 2014, oil on canvas, 150x160cm
Caught red handed, 2014, oil on canvas, 200 x 155 cm
Caught red handed, 2014, oil on canvas, 200 x 155 cm
king king country, 2014, oil on canvas, 95 x 95 cm
king king country, 2014, oil on canvas, 95 x 95 cm
2014Stunninglefthook_200x175cm
A Stunning Left Hook, 2014, oil on canvas, 200x175cm
Travelling, 2014, oil on canvas, 210 x 150cm,
Traveling, 2014, oil on canvas, 210 x 150cm
from Russia with hysteria, 165x110, oil on canvas, 2014
From Russia with hysteria, 2014, oil on canvas, 165x110cm
2014moderneMelancholias
Modern Melancholia, 2014, oil on canvas, 75x60cm
Drehung in China, 2014, oil on canvas, 90 x 70cm
Drehung in China, 2014, oil on canvas,
90 x 70cmSchluss mit Mobben und Dissen, 2014, Oil on canvas, 200x155cm
Schluss_mit_Mobben
Schluss mit Mobben und Dissen, 2014, Oil on canvas, 200x155cm
Danish Painting, 2010, Oil on Canvas, 140x100cm
Danish Painting, 2010, Oil on Canvas, 140x100cm

 

2010-14 Body, Gender, Fluidity

2010keuschheit
Chastity, or what you resist will persist, 2010, acrylics and oil on canvas, 190x210cm
2010_ingres_gestürzt_200x300cm
Ingres gestürzt, 2010, Öl und Acryl auf Leinwand, 200 x 300 cm

 

Handing the keys of yourself to a Black Hole, 2009, acrylics on canvas, 120x130cm
Handing the keys of yourself to a Black Hole, 2009, acrylics on canvas, 120x130cm
13. Geburtstag, 2006, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 80cm
13. Geburtstag, 2006, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 80cm
O.T., 2014, acrylic on canvas, 200x290cm
O.T., 2014, acrylic on canvas, 200 x 290cm
untitled, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 200 x 300 cm
untitled, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 200 x 300 cm
Ingres_Hure, 2010, oil on canvas, 155x200cm
Ingres_Hure, 2010, oil on canvas, 155x200cm
monkey, 2013, oil on canvas, 90x95cm
monkey, 2013, oil on canvas, 90x95cm
Painting surgery, 2000, oil on canvas, 90x105 cm.
Painting surgery, 2000, oil on canvas, 90×105 cm.
another male, 2014, oil on canvas, 50 x 50cm
another male, 2014, oil on canvas, 50 x 50cm
a twist in nothing, 2014, oil on canvas, 80x80cm
a twist in nothing, 2014, oil on canvas, 80x80cm
o.T. 2006, acrylic on canvas, 160 x 120cm
o.T. 2006, acrylic on canvas, 160 x 120cm
a blackness inside, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 155 x 190 cm
a blackness inside, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 155 x 190 cm
Another world, 2010, acrylic on canvas, 220 x 190 cm
Another world, 2010, acrylic on canvas, 220 x 190 cm
Kreuzabnahme, 2007, oil and acrylic on canvas, 220 x 190 cm
Kreuzabnahme, 2007, oil and acrylic on canvas, 220 x 190 cm
Duchamp's last work revisited from other side, 2013, oil on canvas, 155x200cm
Duchamp’s last work revisited from other side, 2013, oil on canvas, 155x200cm
2008Sanhugoenelrefectorio
San Hugo in el refectorio, after Zurbarán, 2008, Watercolour on paper, 120×150 cm
large "abstract", 220x190cm, acrylic on canvas, 2010
large “abstract”, 220x190cm, acrylic on canvas, 2010

1994-2012 Colaborations

Peter Paul Rubens Grundschule, 2010
Peter Paul Rubens Grundschule, 2010
Louisa, 1994, acrylic on canvas, 80 x 60 cm
Louisa, 1994, acrylic on canvas, 80 x 60 cm
Lola, 1994, acrylic on canvas, 90 x 65 cm
Lola, 1994, acrylic on canvas, 90 x 65 cm
kindermuseum
Bildwelten, Kindermuseum, Berlin 2009
P1030560
Shanna oder Warum haben Männer keine Brüste? 2008

2008colabshanna_200x200

Nein Sagen, 2007, Tafellack und Kreide auf Leinwand, 200 x 300 cm
Nein Sagen, Beteiligung an einem Tafelbild, 2007, Gustav-Heinemann Oberschule, Berlin

2012 – Friedrich II after Menzel

Friedrich II after Menzel, 2012, oil on board, 30x40cm
Friedrich II after Menzel, 2012, oil on board, 30x40cm
Paradestücke, Schloss Sacrow, 2012, kuratiert von Birgit Möckel, mit Neues Atelierhaus Panzerhalle
Paradestücke, Schloss Sacrow, 2012, kuratiert von Birgit Möckel, mit Neues Atelierhaus Panzerhalle
Friedrich und die Barberina nach Menzel, 2012, 30x24cm, oil on board
Friedrich und die Barberina nach Menzel, 2012, 30x24cm, oil on board
2012menzelfouque
Friedrich der Große und General La Motte Fouque in Sanssouci nach Menzel, 2012, oil on board, 30x24cm,
2012emmer_menzelkonzert
Das Flötenkonzert nach Menzel, 2012, oil on board, 30x40cm

 

Aufbahrung der Märzgefallenen nach Menzel, 2012, acrylics on canvas, 80x90cm
Aufbahrung der Märzgefallenen nach Menzel, 2012, acrylics on canvas, 80x90cm
Friedrich auf Reisen nach Menzel, 2012, acrylics on canvas, 30x40cm
Friedrich auf Reisen nach Menzel, 2012, acrylics on canvas, 30x40cm
Ansprache Friedrichs vor der Schlacht von Leuthen nach Menzel, 2012, oil and acrylics on canvas, 200x300cm

2006-14 Street Workers/Ingres

Turkish Bath re-loaded, 2008, oil on canvas, 130x140cm
Turkish Bath re-loaded, 2008, oil on canvas, 130x140cm
2010_ingres_gestürzt_200x300cm
Ingres gestürzt, 2010, Öl und Acryl auf Leinwand, 200 x300 cm

 

Turkish Bath meets Kurfürstenstrasse, 2010, oil on canvas, 135x160cm
Turkish Bath meets Kurfürstenstrasse, 2010, oil on canvas, 135x160cm
Layers of Ingres, 2010, oil on canvas, 155x200cm
Layers of Ingres, 2010, oil on canvas, 155x200cm
Ingres Irrtum, 2010, acrylics on canvas, 100x130cm
Ingres Irrtum, 2010, acrylics on canvas, 100x130cm
2009Ingresmeetsstreetworker_45x60cm
Ingres meets street worker, 2010, ink on paper, 45x60cm
2009Kurfuerstenstrasse_45x60cm
Street Worker by night, 2009, ink on paper, 45x60cm
2009Notsoldnotraped_45x60cm
friendly street worker, 2010, ink on paper, 45x60cm
Smiling, 2009, ink on paper, 45x60cm
2009Streetworker_45x60
Not a street worker, 2000, ink on paper, 45x60cm

 

Mädchenfalle, 2010, ink on paper, 45x60cm
2009Exotics_45x60cm
Walking into Turkish bath, 2009, ink on paper, 45x60cm
2009IngresmeetsSW_45x60cm
Street Worker in turkish bath, 2009, ink on paper, 45x60cm
2009Kurfuersten_45x60cm
Soft drinks, 2009, ink on paper, 45x60cm
Street Worker, 2010, ink on paper, 45x60cm
Street Worker, 2010, ink on paper, 45x60cm
2009ZweiGirls_45x60cm
Two girls, 2010, ink on paper, 45x60cm
2009wohnen_45x60cm
Möbelhaus, 2009, ink on paper, 45x60cm
2009Streetworker
Street Walker, 2009, ink on paper, 45x60cm

2009paradies_45x60cm

Cruising, 2009, ink on paper, 45x60cm

2009Maedchenfallen_45x60cm
Babystrich, 2009, ink on paper, 45x60cm

 

2009-15 Western Sahara

MH_distant_web
MARIEM HASSAN 1958 – 2015. A tribute to the women of Western Sahara, by Bettina Semmer, Tindouf 2015.
MH_withpeople_web
MARIEM HASSAN 1958 – 2015. A tribute to the women of Western Sahara, by Bettina Semmer, Tindouf 2015. – Many local children also helped.
MH_rightside_web
MARIEM HASSAN 1958 – 2015. A tribute to the women of Western Sahara, by Bettina Semmer, Tindouf 2015. – Final presentation with the director Hassina and her assistant.
MH_rightwithIsmail_web
MARIEM HASSAN 1958 – 2015. A tribute to the women of Western Sahara, by Bettina Semmer, Tindouf 2015. – Ismail Banan, artist and calligrapher, is one of the few adults colaborating.
the disappeared (series of drawings) 2010-12
the disappeared (series of drawings) 2010-12
2009phosphorGomilasemmer
Phosphor/Piss for Peace, with Francis Gomila 2009
2010sahara
Where are the disappeared Sahraouis? Fresco Painting, 2010
2010detailwomanandtext
Where are the disappeared Sahraouis? Fresco Painting, 2010, Detail
2012documenta_silkscreenprint_50x60cm
Silkscreen print, Symposium curated by Bettina Semmer
2011Saharalibre_220x190cm
Marcos fuera, 2011, acrylics and oil on canvas, 200 x 300 cm
Vitiligo, 2010, oil on canvas, 95x95cm
Vitiligo, 2010, oil on canvas, 95x95cm
2011onkelsahara_120x80cm
Onkel Sahara, 2012, Öl auf Leinwand, 120 x 80 cm