London-based photorealist artist Habib Hajallie is known for his fiercely detailed portrait drawings which aim to lift up those historically undermined by society and the mainstream media. Habib’s style of portraiture is directly inspired by his Sierra Leonean heritage. Often using himself or family members as subjects, Habib skillfully navigates the intersection of his upbringing in the West and his African culture and heritage.
Habib Hajallie’s Style and Motivations
Habib plays with contradiction, juxtaposition and paradox to open up a dialogue around persisting socio-political issues. Using antique texts and maps as his canvases, Habib challenges the perception of various demographics as being of lesser humanistic value. Giving the disenfranchised the full-page spread they deserve, Habib’s graphic imagery empowers all-too-often marginalised ethnic groups in society and retaliates against unlawful censorship. Inspired by Renaissance era sketches, Habib works with biro pen and draws upon traditional draughtsman techniques. The result is classic and expressive imagery.
Awards and Exhibitions
Habib has exhibited extensively in the UK and across the Atlantic in the US. The artist has taken home prestigious awards including the Under 30s Prize at The Drawing Society, United Kingdom (2019) and the Best in Show Award at Embracing Our Differences, Florida, USA.