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Artist Announced for Prestigious Commission at The Harris

23 May 2024

Artist Khaled Hafez

Artist Khaled Hafez

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.

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.

Visit the Harris website for further information about the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund and updates on The Harris' commission.

Further Information

About the Harris

Established in 1893, The Harris, a Grade I listed building, is owned and managed by Preston City Council.

Renowned as one of the region's premier museums, galleries, and libraries, The Harris hosts art collections and activities catering to all ages. With over 380,000 visitors in 2018/2019, it remains a cornerstone of cultural engagement in Preston.

We are currently delivering Harris Your Place, a major capital project made possible with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund; Towns Fund; Preston City Council; Lancashire County Council; the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal; DCMS; Arts Council England, public donations and a wide range of Trusts and Foundations.

The magnificent Grade I Listed building is poised to reopen in 2025, offering a diverse array of events and activities.

IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund

The IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund is a national partnership programme of over 20 artist commissions inspired by the heritage of conflict. Led by Imperial War Museums, the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund was created following the success of 14-18 NOW, the official UK arts programme for the First World War centenary.

To mark the end of the First World War centenary, Imperial War Museums and 14-18 NOW worked together to co-commission the critically acclaimed film They Shall Not Grow Old by Academy Award winner Peter Jackson, which was seen by nearly 5 million people globally.

Following the unprecedented success of the film, 14-18 NOW and IWM agreed that a share of the film's royalties would be used to support a new programme of artist commissions, the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund.

A total of £2.5 million is being made available to artists and cultural organisations across the UK.

Through the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund, IWM is now working in partnership with cultural organisations from across the UK to commission over 20 ambitious new artworks inspired by the heritage of conflict and created by world-leading and emerging contemporary artists. These new commissions will forge new opportunities for artistic engagement, bring art to audiences in new and relevant ways by connecting people, places and experiences, and kick-start cultural dialogue as we recover from the wide-reaching impacts of COVID-19.

The commissions will go on public display across the UK from 2022.


Imperial War Museums (IWM)

The Imperial War Museums tells the story of people who have lived, fought and died in conflicts involving Britain and the Commonwealth since the First World War.

Our unique collections, made up of the everyday and the exceptional, reveal stories of people, places, ideas and events. Using these, we tell vivid personal stories and create powerful physical experiences across our five museums that reflect the realities of war as both a destructive and creative force.

We challenge people to look at conflict from different perspectives, enriching their understanding of the causes, course and consequences of war and its impact on people's lives.

  • IWM's five branches which attract over 2.5 million visitors each year are IWM London, IWM's flagship branch that has recently transformed with new, permanent and free Second World War and The Holocaust Galleries;
  • IWM North, housed in an iconic award-winning building designed by Daniel Libeskind;
  • IWM Duxford, a world renowned aviation museum and Britain's best preserved wartime airfield;
  • Churchill War Rooms, housed in Churchill's secret headquarters below Whitehall; and the Second World War cruiser HMS Belfast.

14 - 18 NOW

14-18 NOW was a programme of extraordinary arts experiences connecting people with the First World War, as part of the UK's official centenary commemorations between 2014 and 2018.

It commissioned new work by leading contemporary artists across all art forms; the programme included over 420 artists from 40 countries, taking place in more than 220 locations across the UK.

35 million people experienced the programme, including 8 million children and young people. 14-18 NOW won many awards for its work.

14-18 NOW was supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England, by the DCMS, and with additional funding from The Backstage Trust, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Clore Duffield Foundation, British Council, NatWest and support from individuals.

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