CV Hasan and Husain Essop

Hasan and Husain Essop have been collaborating since their graduation from the University of Cape Town.Their work has appeared in several group shows, including Integration and Resistance in the Global Age at the Havana Biennale, ABSA L’Atelier in Johannesburg and Power Play at Goodman Gallery Cape, as well as various private and public collections, including the Durban Art Gallery and the South African National Gallery. They are represented by Goodman Gallery.

Artist Statement

Our series of work highlights a multi-cultural clash between religion and popular cultures. We explore the dominating influence of Western theatrics and those narratives that are constructed to depict a certain reality. Inspired by Hollywood’s visual language and tactics, we create our own narratives. Each photograph reflects us in a battle of moral, religious and cultural conflicts. Two dominant personalities appear, East and West with all their stereotypes. Environments are chosen as stages on which to perform and define our behaviors. Several characters may appear repeatedly. Our daily uniforms, brands reflecting class distinctions become tools and opportunities for acting out multiple personae and adapting to specific surroundings. Those clothed in Islamic wear are aggressive but humble in their quest, those in popular fashion questioning our beliefs. The pit bull demonstrates loyalty but no sense of reason. Similarly, soldiers in war portray a patriotic commitment to their country, bred for a purpose. Creating a moment in time, a dream or something seen, we tell a story of growing up. Being competitive with each other is a constant battle for the best. We use our own iconography to provide a political context for the wars being fought on a local and global scale. The viewer is able to translate these signs with their own understanding of the present and imagining arrange of different possibilities. The images are also personal viewpoints that capture the growth and hunger for development: finding boundaries that we are able to
test, debating the truth in our actions. They also reveal a satirical thread stitched in its process, a designed layout demonstrating our knowledge and experience. As twin brothers, we have set out to find ourselves in each other, the similarities become interesting and exciting. Trying to create something new each time, a story unfolds and never ends.

Solo Exhibitions

2014 Unrest, Iziko Museum
2014 Unrest, National Arts Festival, South Africa
2014 Unrest, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
2014 Unrest, Durban, South Africa
2014 Unrest, Cape Town, South Africa
2014 Unrest, Bloemfontein, South Africa
2013 Remembrance , Isabelle van den Eynde, Dubai
2012 Remembrance, Goodman Gallery Cape Town
2011 Indelible Marks, Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Dubai
2010 Halaal Art, Goodman Gallery Johannesburg
2006 4th year Graduate Exhibition, Michaelis School of Fine Arts, University of Cape Town

Group Exhibitions

2014 From Sitting to Selfie, Standard Bank Gallery, South Africa
2013 Am I not a man and a brother? Am I not a woman and a sister?, James Harris Gallery, Seattle
2013 Rendez-Vous 13, Institut d’Art Contemporain, Villeurbanne, France
2012 Photography of The Rainbow Nation, Museum Beelden aan Zee, Den Haag, Netherlands
2012 Les Rencontre Arles Photographie, France
2012 Next Generation, Thami Mnyele Foundation, Amsterdam; Pulchri Studio, The Hague
2012 Advance/Notice, Goodman Gallery Johannesburg
2011 Rencontre de Bamako: 9th African Photography Biennale, Bamako, Mali
2011 Paris Photo: African Emerging Photography presented by Bamako Encounters, Paris
2011 Figures & Fictions: Contemporary South African Photography, Victoria and Albert Museum in London
2011 Propoganda by Monuments, Cairo
2010 BREDAPHOTO 2010, Breda, Netherlands
2010 Peekaboo Current South Africa, Helsinki Museum, Finland
2010 Dak’art Biennale, Dakar, Senegal
2010 Integration and Resistance in the Global Age, Tenth Havana Biennial, Cuba
2010 “US”, Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town
2008 Power Play, Goodman Gallery Cape, Cape Town
2008 Africa and the World, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg
Goodman Gallery Booth, Johannesburg Art Fair, Sandton Convention Centre
Spier Contemporary Art Competition, Johannesburg Art Gallery
ABSA Atelier, Regional selection exhibition, Art.B, Belville, Cape Town
2007 Spier Contemporary Art Competition, Spier Estate, Stellenbosch
2007 The Loaded Lens, Goodman Galley Cape, Cape Town

Awards and Merits

2014 Standard Bank Young Artist Award

Academic Record and Residencies


2012 Postgraduate Certificate in Education, University of Cape Town
2009 Postgraduate Diploma in Art, Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town
2006 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Michaelis School of Fine Arts, University of Cape Town


2011 Thami Mnyele Foundation, Amsterdam

Selected Articles and Reviews

2013 Chris Thurman, Seeing Double as Visual Artists Allow Education to Inform Art, Business Day Live,Johannesburg
2013 Sean O’Toole, Interrogating The Lingering, Mail & Guardian, Johannesburg
2010 Lopez Ligero, Des cubriendo El Arte Africano, Dominical
2010 Jelle Bouwhuis & Kesrtin Winking, Looking Back Forward? Nafas Art Magazine
2010 Sean O’Toole, Doing it Ourselves, Enjin Magazine

Artworks in the SAFFCA Collection