Hassan Massoudi grew up in a traditional Iraqi society characterised by strong religious beliefs, a high sense of solidarity and a keenness for festive gatherings. As a youngster, in this town where all images were prohibited, he fulfilled his for art by making drawings and calligraphies while investing all his energy passion in obtaining paper and pigments. In 1961 he left for Baghdad and started working as an apprentice for various calligraphers. He visited exhibitions of modern art which fascinated him and from then on, started to dream of studying art. The political events and ensuing dictatorship prevented him from doing so. unfolding. He eventually left Iraq for France in 1969, and studied at the (Ecole des Beaux- Arts) of Paris where he first worked on figurative painting. He did not stop calligraphy altogether; to pay for his studies, he was doing headlines in calligraphy for Arabic magazines. Over the years, calligraphy progressively emerged in his figurative painting and eventually took its place. In 1972, he created the show (Arabesque) with the actor Guy Jacquet joined a few years later by the musician Fawzy Al Aiedy. Arabesque was a public performance combining music and poetry together with calligraphies being performed and projected on a large screen. The drawing of his calligraphy became swifter and his gesture richer and whilst traditionally Arabic calligraphy is done with black ink. To better express himself, he broke from the tradition and introduced other colours into his work on large size paper. Hassan Massoudy’s works are a subtle mix of present and past, oriental and occidental art, tradition and modernity. He perpetuates tradition while breaking from it. Over the years he has purified and simplified the lines of his drawing. The words and phrases he draws come from poets and writers from all over the world or sometimes simply from popular wisdom.
Born in 1944 in Najef, South of Iraq
- Hassan Massoudi