Hawwa: the curious artist who loves her work to convey purpose and meaning
Some artists proudly define their work, while others like to avoid any labels. Hawwa is an artist and photographer based in Manchester that definitely falls into the latter, preferring instead to experiment with lots of different mediums. "I also love to spark discussion, or encourage someone to think about a topic, or make them feel a certain way," she tells us.
Hawwa centres her work on expressing emotion or a particular message, usually on the theme of identity, race, culture and belonging. She admits that art is a "coping mechanism" for life and any challenges she might face.
"If there's a lot going on in my head, I write it down or draw it out. Even if it never sees the light of day or I delete it straight afterwards, I find it helps to organise my thoughts," she says. "When you get it down on paper, when you paint it or express it in a creative way, you see it in a different light and it helps you work through it."
It's because of this approach that Hawwa uses lots of colour in her personal work. "Whenever I'm feeling something that I want to get out of my system, I pick the colours that represent my emotions and just create something," she continues.
"This is why similarly, a lot of my illustrations are very line-heavy. Even if I'm drawing something obvious like a building, I like finding ways to give it character and depth and for me that works best when I do a lot of line-work."
Alongside her full-time job and freelance work, Hawwa also runs a small online art shop and is co-founder of The Rice Bowl Collective which she runs with two friends; it's an online space to encourage discussion around identity and education through social media, workshops and the recent publication of an art book called RICE.
"We wanted to find a way to translate the discussions and frustrations we had with the curriculum and education in general in a more engaging and accessible way," Hawwa explains. "I loved studying history at university but the more I learnt, the angrier I felt at how inaccessible all this knowledge was, and also how eurocentric.
"Finding ways to express that in creative ways, be it a poem, a meme, a comic strip, or a piece of art, felt so cathartic for us that we decided to try and make it a bit bigger, and encourage others who felt a similar way to express their thoughts too. We wanted to create a safe space for learning and conversation in a way that we had never got to experience before; The Rice Bowl Collective was our solution."