Over the last two years, Mohamed Hassan has been working on Witnessing Wales, travelling and documenting people and places from the perspective of a newcomer.
The Covid 19 pandemic has had a profound impact on society and communities. In west Wales, the economy, heavily reliant on tourism and hospitality, has seen many people lose jobs or put on the furlough scheme; some communities have come together to support each other, whilst other have become more divided.
In Pembrokeshire, there have been rising tensions around the rehoming of homeless people and the MoD plans to house over 200 asylum seekers in Penally, near Tenby, with the camp being targeted by hard-right extremist protestors resulting in heated exchanges with the Police; to counter this, local groups have rallied in support of the refugees. Pre-Covid events, such as Brexit, continue to add to the landscape of uncertainty and the future presents challenges for economic security, our social interactions and loneliness, and community solidarity.
This time is one of the most unsettled periods in recent history, these portraits provide a snapshot in time of people living and working in modern west Wales and explore the concept of Welsh national identity where the shared aspiration is for a nation where equality, diversity and inclusion is usual and everyday.
The portraits ask questions about the relationship between identity and nationhood what divides us and what ties us together, what is Welshness, today and, in these rapidly changing times, poses a further conundrum on what will be in the future.
Originally from Alexandria in Egypt, Mohamed Hassan has been living and working in Pembrokeshire, in west Wales since 2007, graduating with a 1st class honours degree in Photography from Carmarthen School of Art in 2016. Mohamed has been shortlisted for several awards and competitions and his work has been exhibited at the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait exhibition in 2018 at the National Portrait Gallery in London, Elysium Swansea, Nova Cymru 2018, the prestigious Mission Gallery, the Waterfront National Museum in Wales and the Trajectory Showcase Competition Exhibition in Shoreditch, London.