Ashraf is an Egyptian born British artist, currently resident and working from his studio in Pembrokeshire, West Wales.
Growing up in Egypt Ashraf Hanna was surrounded by pottery forms that have changed little since the ancient times. Such as classical forms that have filtered through the ages, touched and formed by the hand of the potter. These forms were functional storage jars and water cooling urns. It was not until he went to El Minia College of Fine Arts that he started to really look at them. Close observation during drawing classes of still life compositions opened his eyes. Ashraf observed the beauty and contentment that exist within the considered and executed form.
The long hours Ashraf Hanna spent in the drawing studio not only developed the skill needed to make a mark but, more importantly, it was a time of meditation. This allowed him to free his mind from preconceptions that normally govern our perception of functional pottery. It had become increasingly obvious to him that objects derive their value not only from certain inherent qualities and attributes. Crucially, also from how we relate to them in a particular context. This has initiated and shaped his relationship with pottery forms ever since. He now sees them as a vehicle of creativity worthy of contemplation.
When he enjoyed drawing pots back in Egypt, it never occurred to him that he would be making them. The mark making is now a direct interaction between the hand and a lump of clay. Fingers are no longer just used to hold the pencil but to exact an immediate gesture manipulating the solid mass of clay.
The vessel has evolved from its basic function to contain, to become a vessel of man’s creativity. In surpassing functionality vessels have invited a more poetic and meditative approach to making.
When we make, the physicality of an object is a manifestation of thoughts and emotions that we experience, a celebration of the marriage of ideas and skill. An object in his opinion should have a physical presence that invites a response on a number of levels, emotional as well as intellectual.