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UAE’s artistic giant Hassan Sharif dies age 65

UAE’s artistic giant Hassan Sharif dies age 65

Hassan Sharif, arguably the most famous Emirati artist, died last night at the age of 65. He had been suffering from cancer. His funeral was held this morning. Upon hearing the news, many of the UAE’s leading cultural figures paid tribute to the man who was affectionately known as the father of the country’s contemporary art scene.

The founder of the Sharjah Art Foundation, Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi, who featured Sharif’s work in her curated exhibition for the UAE Pavilion in Venice last year, was devastated by the news. "Truly heart-broken today," she wrote on social media. "May he rest in peace." Sultan Sooud Al Qassimi, the founder of Barjeel Art Foundation and a keen collector of Sharif’s work also took to social media to pay his respects. "[He was] a giant of UAE and Middle Eastern art: Rest in peace," he wrote.

While Emirati photographer Ammar Al Attar, who visited Sharif in 2014 in his Al Barsha studio where he took his portrait for Art Index — an exhibition of key members of the UAE’s art community — posted the portrait on his feeds with a moving caption that read: "True artists never die, their work lives on forever".