Hamed Maiye is an interdisciplinary artist flitting between painting, drawing and set design

When not building his colourful installations, the London-based artist centres his stark and monochromatic works on the narratives found in his dreams.

25 March 2021
Reading Time
4 minute read


The work of Hamed Maiye is impeccably interdisciplinary. Often, the London-based artist will be flitting between painting, drawing and set design, working with a wide mix of tools and techniques in the process. A quick glance of his portfolio and this becomes clear; you’ll stumble across a series of stark, black-and-white artworks – most of which are created using charcoal, chalk and pastels – before being greeted by a collection of installation pieces built using a wide ensemble of fabrics, like satins, lace, chiffon and cottons. You might have seen them in the pages of Afropunk, Aether Magazine, Apparently Magazine, Elle Magazine (Brazil), Okay Africa, Radr Online, Dazed plus many others. He’s also had numerous pieces shown in exhibitions at venues such as Gallery on the Corner, Republic Gallery, Shoreditch Platform, Hive Dalston, Tate Britain and Protein Studios.

To say that Hamed’s mixed-media work causes impact would be an understatement, which evidently shows throughout the wide recognition he seems to be gaining at the moment. But what stands out most is his ability to mesh his interests in architecture and anthropology. Having grown up in and amongst the realms of art, Hamed would regularly spend his younger years doodling. This inspired him to take his sketching further, and later went on to pursue art as an A-Level option, despite not having any real artistic experience besides these drawings. As things turned out, Hamed continued his education and decided to focus on architecture, “which still very much links into my current practice,” he tells It’s Nice That. “Although I’m not actively pursuing architecture as a discipline, I still use a lot of the skills I learnt.”

What’s more is that Hamed is deeply influenced by a broad mix of outside sources, specifically artists who tend to explore alternative realities. “But I'm also equally into artists who reflect our currently reality,” he adds. This includes British artists Lubaina Himid and Faisal Abdu’Allah, American artist Charles White, American and Mexican sculptor and graphic artist Elizabeth Catlett, American painter and mixed media sculptor Faith Ringgold – best known for her narrative-fuelled quilts – American artist Brianna Rose Brooks and Kenyan painter Michael Armitage.

Besides these influences, which inherently drive much of his thought processes and inspirations, Hamed’s work takes shape as visual snapshots of his daydreams. “I’ve been thinking a lot about how the artist can also be an anthropologist,” he explains. “I’m currently exploring memory – interpersonal and cultural – and how the two can be woven together, and also the grey space between memory and imagination.” In doing so, Hamed has been transferring these visions and thoughts onto paper, which is the most accessible format for him at the time due to the studio he’s been working in. As described, his work is inimitably interdisciplinary, but everything that he puts his mind towards comes from a similar realm of thinking, “and often the mediums can cross and overlap.”


Hamed Maiye: Emotional Anthropology - charcoal/chalk/pastel on paper 59 x 84 cm 2020 (Copyright © Hamed Maiye, 2020)

Once in his studio, Hamed begins his day by working in “organised chaos”. Commencing with admin and planning, the majority of the process takes place in his head; he spends plenty of time filtering through the images stored in his mind, searching for the perfect idea that he’ll then become obsessed with, and one that he can continue to explore further. “Then I work backwards from that image until I realise it,” he notes, usually beginning with a collage of references, which he then moulds into a digital study. “I also have to decide what output is suitable for the piece I want to work on. For example, my workflow on paper is very different to working on canvas, and each one has its own unique set of rules and approaches.”

Alongside an ident for ITV – a sculptural installation commissioned as part of Black history month – the artist has also worked heavily in the medium of the canvas. One piece, titled Memory Lapse, sees Hamed utilise his painterly skills to build luminous markings with charcoal, chalk, pastel and coloured pencil onto the paper backdrop. There’s something quite referential to the supernatural in this work, where linear details are finished with an otherworldly glow. Another piece, titled Untitled (Searching for lost memories), works in a similar vein. “These works are deeply personal, interpersonal and cultural,” he tells us, ”loosely based on objects with contentious histories which are searching for their memories which have been lost, displaced or stolen. At the same time these objects are also me, searching for the same things.” Both are created on monotonous black paper and devoid of any colour, which effectively represents the blur of his memories and dreams. “I personally can’t recall colour very well in my memories a lot of the time.”

Wildly allegorical and packed with hidden meanings, Hamed hopes his audience will gauge their own personal dialogue from his work – even if the pieces are self-referential and based on his own personal experiences. “I don’t think I particularly want to dictate how anyone engages with the work, nor am I trying to create a message,” he concludes. “I think I”m just exploring pieces of myself and sharing it through work.”


Hamed Maiye: Untitled - (Diptych) air brush/charcoal/chalk/pastel/coloured pencil on paper 2021 (Copyright © Hamed Maiye, 2021)


Hamed Maiye: In search of; The space in between - charcoal/chalk/pastel/coloured pencil on paper 59 x 84 cm 2020 (Private Collection) (Copyright © Hamed Maiye, 2021)


Hamed Maiye: Sublunary (01) - digital cotton print, white satin, gold satin, lace, chiffon - 2019 Swiss Church London (Copyright © Hamed Maiye, 2019)


Hamed Maiye: Middle Passage (Return Passage) - white satin, gold & silver rescue blankets, Nylon water print - 2019 Swiss Church London (Copyright © Hamed Maiye, 2019)


Hamed Maiye: Untitled - charcoal/chalk/pastel/coloured pencil on paper 59 x 84 cm 2021 (Copyright © Hamed Maiye, 2021)


Hamed Maiye: Memory Lapse - charcoal/chalk/pastel/coloured pencil on paper 59 x 84 cm 2020 (Collection of Alan Lo) (Copyright © Hamed Maiye, 2020)


Hamed Maiye: Untitled (searching for lost memories) - charcoal/chalk/pastel on paper 59 x 84 cm 2020 (Copyright © Hamed Maiye, 2020)


Hamed Maiye: Master of The Sun; Master of ThySelf. Diptych (dimensions variable) Oil, Oil bar, pastel, charcoal on canvas - 2020 (Collection of Alan Lo) (Copyright © Hamed Maiye, 2020)


Hamed Maiye: Untitled - oil/oil bar/pastel on canvas 75 x 85 cm 2018 (Copyright © Hamed Maiye, 2018)


Hamed Maiye: Transmission/Transition 2017 - Hamed Maiye & Nwaka Okparaeke (image credit Nwaka Okparaeke) (Copyright © Hamed Maiye, 2018)

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Hamed Maiye: The Exorcist & The submissive - (Diptych) charcoal/chalk/pastel/coloured pencil on paper 2020 (Copyright © Hamed Maiye, 2020)

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About the Author

Ayla Angelos

Ayla was an editorial assistant back in June 2017 and has continued to work with us on a freelance basis. She has spent the last seven years as a journalist, and covers a range of topics including photography, art and graphic design. Feel free to contact Ayla with any stories or new creative projects.

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