Artist StatementThe art I create is an intermingling of my two worlds, that of my birthplace in Tanzania, East Africa, and that of the United States, which has been my home for ten years. My art contains an overriding theme of community and family. When I was a child, as is typical of children in Tanzania, I created my toys out of found-objects. As an adult, I continue this process, as I incorporate natural materials in my collages. The materials I use reflect my perceptions of the strong ties between humans and Earth, and the pieces I create incorporate abstracted figures in their daily lives. The collages depict scenes from daily life, or ujamaa, which is Kiswahili for cooperation, unity in family and in community. I use natural materials, such as banana, birch, palm and Australian pine barks, leaves, husks, natural fiber papers, and other plant fibers, combined in a meticulous process. In order to create diverse textural effects, I use techniques such as burning, weaving, shredding and braiding, in addition to basic layering of the materials. Just as in life, I have straddled and made a life on two continents, in my art, I attempt to glue and weave together my two worlds by focusing on the commonality among all people globally.
ARTIST’S BIOGRAPHY - Hussein Saidi 2006 Contemporary African artist, Hussein Saidi, combines traditional African themes with modern style. Saidi’s work is highly acclaimed internationally and has been on display at various locations including Gdynia, Poland’s International Exhibition of Art, “Globaltica: Art Inspired by Traditional Cultures", Fisher Gallery’s “Body Art” solo exhibition of natural material collages, Apex Gallery’s “A Tribute to Fiber Art”, New York City JVC Jazz Festival “Rhythm, Color and Harmony”, Art Association of Harrisburg – National Juried Show, The ARTery “War and Sentiment”, Rockville Art Place “Inspired by Music”, World Arts Focus “Contradictions” solo exhibit, and Meridian International Center – White Meyer Galleries, to name a few. Saidi’s artwork was highlighted in Sunshine Artist Magazine’s “Under the Canopy,” with cover art and an article (Jan. 2006, 28 – 31). Saidi’s 2002 solo exhibit “Contradictions” represented his attempt to explore the human spirit and the contradictions inherent within it, including the strong reactions and feelings of those affected by the tragic violence in the Washington, DC area. His solo show in May 2004, “Body Art” explored traditional and modern cultures in their use of body art. Saidi has received many awards and honors, including: * Award of Merit – Festival of the Masters, Orlando, FL - Nov 2005 * Award of Merit – Neptune Festival, Virginia Beach, VA – Sept 2005 * Award for Excellence – Arts, Beats & Eats Festival, Pontiac, MI – June 2005 * 1st Place Mixed Media – Detroit Festival of the Arts, Detroit, MI – June 2005 * Honorary Award – Festival in the Park, Charlotte, NC - Sept 2004 and 2005 * Guest Lecturer: Selected by Art Educator participants, Penn State University Outreach – July 2004 * Honorary Award – East Lansing Art Festival, East Lansing, MI - May 2004 * Grant Award - “Art in the U.S. Fosters Understanding of the Islamic World” Puffin Foundation – Feb 2004 * 1st Place – Princess Ann Art Show, Virginia Beach, VA 2003 * 1st Place – Niantic Outdoor Art Show, Niantic, CT 2003 * Judges’ Choice – Arts Alive, Ocean City, MD 2003 Saidi’s collection of art contains an overriding theme of community and family. He attempts to unify and intertwine his two worlds – that of Tanzania and that of the United States – by focusing on the commonality among all people globally. His artwork embodies two distinct styles. From his father, also an artist, Saidi acquired the skills to create contemporary acrylic paintings. These paintings utilize bold colors and shapes, and they are lively, active and pure in emotion. Saidi also creates unique collages utilizing natural materials such as barks, leaves, husks and other natural fibers, combined in a meticulous process. When he was a boy, as is typical of children in Tanzania, Saidi created his own toys out of found-objects. Saidi now continues this process in his art, as he incorporates natural materials in his collages, where the materials he uses reflect his perceptions of the strong ties between humans and Earth. Each creation either shows scenes from daily life in Africa, or it shows ujamaa, which is Kiswahili for cooperation, unity in family and in community life. Saidi is originally from Tanga, Tanzania, which is about 5° south of the equator on the east coast of Africa. He has made Maryland his home for ten years. Saidi is currently working as a professional artist full-time out of his studio in Silver Spring, Maryland. For more information and to view samples of his work online, please visit his website at: www.UjamaArt.com, or write to: Saidi@UjamaArt.com. Phone: 301 – 438 – 3519