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I am an honouree as part of the Forbes 30 Under 30 list (Europe). In 2022 I was elected as a member of The Royal Society of British Artists and won The UK New Artist of the Year Award at Saatchi gallery. 

My practice looks to champion figures from ethnically diverse backgrounds that have conspicuously been omitted from traditional British portraiture. Through the exploration of identity within my ballpoint pen portraits; I look to confront socio-political issues apropos to the perception of various demographics as being of lesser human value. Specifically, with minority groups often being further marginalised by mainstream media, reflecting an archaic hierarchy of status emblematic of colonial ideologies. 

Within my work, I strive to rectify the historic lack of visibility of figures from ethnic minority backgrounds. Therefore, questioning preconceived notions regarding what it means to be quintessentially British, as well as the uncomfortable nuances that are associated with this, is imperative for me. Though born in Southeast London, my drawings are often Informed by my Sierra Leonean and Lebanese heritage. By calling upon anecdotal references to portray scenes that are occasionally quasi-surrealist representations; my drawings look to confront lingering ethnocentrisms that are still embedded within modern western society. 

Using antique texts & maps as the canvases for my drawings enables me to pragmatically re-contextualise ephemera, creating a cohesion between the concepts informing the work and the aesthetic output. As I empower various figures; I simultaneously do so with the ground used, presenting them within new contexts. Placing myself or family members as the subjects of my portraits evokes a sense of immediacy, apropos to navigating the intersection of my western upbringing and familial West African culture.

By specialising in the use of a monochrome medium such as the black ballpoint pen to celebrate Blackness, allows me to somewhat paradoxically, show that there is more to an individual than just the colour of their skin. I employ delicate mark making techniques with precise strokes of the everyday ballpoint pen. Through an almost contradictory approach of using this relatively modern art medium with a classical approach - this process, influenced by sketches from the high renaissance, enables me to celebrate authentic drawing within the digital age. 

I depict motifs that challenge largely accepted revisionist narratives apropos to West African Histories, with semblances of antiquated ideologies at the root of nuanced prejudices that I have experienced. Ultimately, my work looks to catalyse a discourse and embolden individuals that feel as though they have been labelled as the ‘other’ in any manifestation.

10-11-2022 - UKNA Artist Awards Sacchi Gallery - UKNA Low-374.JPG
WIP JOCELYN BARROW photocred-Gary Brewer.jpg


August 2023, The Damian Greenish Drawing Award - Winner - Gallery at Green & Stone

June 2023, The Hermione Hammond Drawing Award -Winner - New English Art Club


November 2022, UK New Artist of The Year 2022 - Winner - UKNA & Saatchi Gallery

October 2022, Samuel Ross Black British Artist Grant - Winner - Samuel Ross Community


March 2022, The De Laszlo Foundation Prize - Highly Commended - Royal Society of British Artists

July 2021, Young Artist Award - winner - Society of Graphic Fine Art

May 2021, The Anthony J Lester Art Critic Award - Highly Commended - Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour

April 2021, The De Laszlo Foundation Prize - Highly Commended - Royal Society of British Artists

December 2020, NG Art Residency Prize - winner - Wells Art Contemporary

February 2020, National Lottery: Project Grants – Grant Winner– Arts Council

February 2020, Signature Art Prize: Drawing & Printmaking – Winner – Degree Art

January 2020, Embracing Our Differences Exhibit 2020 – Best in Show – Embracing Our Differences Org

November 2019, Discerning Eye Drawing Bursary 2019 – Runner up – Parker Harris

October 2019, Draw ‘19 – Under 30s Prize Winner- The Society of Graphic Fine Art

July 2019, Artists Collecting Society Studio Prize 2019 – finalist – Artist’s Collecting Society

January 2019, Developing Your Creative Practice Grant – Grant winner – Arts Council England

March 2018, Bloomberg New Contemporaries – class of 2018 – New Contemporaries

May 2016, Jorge Aguilar-Agon Student Artist Award – winner - Fine Art Trade Guild

May 2021- March 2022, Facebook Artist-in-Residence - Meta, Inc.
October 2021, Southwark Park Flag Commission - Southwark Council
November 2020, 'Voices: Sparking Conversations in Art' - Lancaster Maritime Museum - GRAFT Changemakers


September 2022-December 2023, UAL:20/20 Decolonising Arts Institute - Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, UK

August - September 2021, NG Creative Art Residency - NG Art Gallery, Provence, France
August 2021, Southwark Park Galleries Residency - Southwark Park Galleries, London, UK
May - August 2019, Space & Time Artist Residency - Guttenberg Arts, New Jersey, USA

September 2021, Facing History: Habib Hajallie - Art and Cake Los Angeles 
December 2019, Middleground Magazine: issue 1 - Middleground
November 2018, WordPower: Language as Medium – LibraryX
October 2018, Poly Voices 2018 – Lungs Project
August 2016, Art’s Next Generation - Art & Framing Today magazine

Habib Hajallie art exhibition

Habib Hajallie's CV

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