Artist Announced for Prestigious Commission at The Harris

23 May 2024

The Harris is thrilled to announce the selected artist for its highly anticipated commission in partnership with the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund. Renowned Egyptian artist Khaled Hafez will be the creative force behind the new artwork set to feature in The Harris upon its reopening in 2025.

Artist Khaled Hafez. Photo: Fadi Kodzi

Councillor Anna Hindle, Cabinet member for Arts and Culture at Preston City Council, said:

“The Harris has a long history of notable commissions, with one of its most prominent being the Egyptian Balcony painted by artist John Somerscales in 1908.

“This distinctive feature, inspired by a research trip to Egypt, highlights the historical ties between Preston and Egypt. Yet, these connections remain largely unexplored, despite Egypt’s central role in The Harris’ collection and the city’s history.

“This collaboration marks an exciting milestone in The Harris’ ongoing commitment to engaging audiences with thought-provoking art that explores the intersection of history, culture, and identity.”

Khaled Hafez, a multifaceted artist whose work encompasses painting, video/film, photography, installation, and interdisciplinary approaches, brings a unique perspective to the project. Hafez’s core research delves into the nature of identity, particularly focusing on a composite identity woven from African, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Arab, Islamic, ancient Egyptian, and Judeo-Christian influences.

“In my current video, photography, and mixed media works, I am interested in movement, an element deeply embedded in ancient Egyptian art,” Khaled Hafezstated. “I use symbols and codes from various ancient cultures to explore universal heritage.”

The upcoming commission will utilise The Harris’ collections to reveal stories relevant to contemporary audiences and will look to engage local communities, building upon connections between Preston and Egypt.

The Harris is part of the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund, a national partnership programme of over 20 ambitious artist commissions inspired by the heritage of conflict. Led by Imperial War Museums, the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund will enable The Harris to delve into these shared histories of conflict and connection.

Through this partnership, The Harris aims to engage audiences with stories of conflict in innovative and compelling ways.

For further information about the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund and updates on The Harris’ commission, please visit:

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