Ashraf Hanna is celebrated across the world for his exquisite sculptural hand-built forms. Whilst Hanna is now based in Wales, he grew up in Egypt, where he was surrounded by classical forms of pottery. Studying at El Minia College of Fine Arts and taking still-life drawing classes prompted a more considered examination of the pottery forms that had always been present in his life and sparked an interest in groupings of objects.
Hanna’s enjoyment of drawing ceramics was translated to creating ceramics through his future wife, sculptor Sue Hanna, and he went on to undertake an MA in Ceramics and Glass at the Royal College of Art in London. All of Hanna’s work, which encompasses individual vessels and related groupings, originates as a simple pinch pot. Soft slabs of clay are used to create the form of the vessel, which is subsequently refined, once hardened, with metal kidneys.
The essence of form is Hanna’s main concern, and through an artistic practice as fluid as his vessels, each piece Hanna creates informs the next. It is the juxtaposition of the resulting lines, profiles and spaces which emerge from his continually developing process which intrigues Hanna, and he emphasizes these wonderful variations with the application of a restrained palette of refined slips and stained clays. His pieces are intended to provoke emotional and intellectual responses and their success in doing so has made him the recipient of numerous awards. His work is represented in prestigious collections such as the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Fitzwilliam Museum.