Artist Karimah Hassan spent most of last year painting portraits of people she had never met and creating a global community of strangers. A new public, outdoor exhibition of her portraits The Strangers Yearbook will open on Saturday 1 May in Coal Drops Yard in London’s Kings Cross hosted by Kiosk N1C in association with Sarabande Foundation, where Karimah is an artist-in-residence.
Using Instagram as a platform to connect people in first UK Lockdown, Karimah asked the simple question: ‘How are you feeling?’. Participants sent her a selfie and a description in response, which she then painted. She received very honest responses from people of all walks of life including NHS doctors, cancer survivors and refugees on the run. Despite the wide variety of narratives, she found connection in each person’s confession. Her one-a-day, sketchbook painting was an immediate expression of Karimah’s response to the image and words, and it also captured highly personal responses to this global, seismic event.
Blown-up versions of Karimah’s portraits will fill lightboxes across the site for six weeks and there will be a shorter, pop-up gallery of Karimah’s paintings and a catalogue for the Yearbook to buy from 1-4 May at 108 Lower Stable Street, where Karimah will also paint a new mural.