Hasseem Abdallah is a self-taught artist who creates his multifaceted mixed media artworks using canvas, wood, and paper. Hasseem has a long history with the Bayview Hunters Point community through his work with high-risk and special needs youth and their families since 1995.
Hasseem is a native of Long Beach, CA, and an alumnus of San Francisco State University where he played football for the legendary coach Vic Rowen and majored in African Studies with a minor in Education. In addition to being an artist, Hasseem holds a position as a special needs educator for the San Francisco Unified School District, giving him experience at various schools and community based organizations within the Bayview Hunter's Point community for over twenty-five years.
Hasseem’s work is primarily inspired by African tribal art and that informs his art practice, especially when working in wood (often using pine from discarded wood pallets). Art is a direct means of creating connections to his African ancestors. Often influenced by the art of the Dogon, Hasseem’s work calls on design elements from ancient history such as hieroglyphs from Egypt, Adinkra symbols, and Dogon beliefs about the Sirius star system. His work commemorates and acknowledges the wisdom of a tribe still in existence and thriving today.
Hasseem says that working at Hunters Point Shipyard is important to him because of the “sheer history of the area” and that this opportunity will allow him to “explore and experience up close and personal, interactions with individuals, icons and landmarks of a place that is rapidly transforming.” The Artist in Residence position provides Hasseem with critically needed dedicated work-only studio space to create new work.
The residency studio program is the first time Hasseem has ever had the opportunity to set foot in the shipyard despite his many years working with the local community.