Meet the Artists

The Sunderland Collection Art Programme is honoured to work with a diverse group of artists working in a range of media around themes that have resonated from the Collection's antique maps and atlases.

Fathi Hassan

Fathi Hassan gained prominence as an artist in the 1980s and was among the first African and Arab artists to exhibit at the Venice Art Biennale in 1988. Of Nubian descent, Fathi was born in Cairo and spent over 20 years in Naples. He is currently based in Edinburgh.

Fathi works in collage, mixed media, painting, photography and installation. His work explores his own Nubian heritage and lived experience, as well as immigration and identity.

Fathi's work is held in the collections worldwide, including those of the Victoria & Albert Museum, British Museum, Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Williams College Museum of Art, Clark Museum, Cantor Arts Center, Fondazione Fausto Radici, The Farjam Collection, Barjeel Art Foundation, and the Museum of Modern Egyptian Art.

Sonia Barrett

Sonia E. Barrett is an artist whose work unpacks the boundaries between the Determined and the determining with a focus on race and gender. She makes sculptural works so that she can run her hands alone the fissures and manifest strategies for multiple compatible existences and mourn. Her sculptural practice includes place-making with a view to assembling communities under the threat of climate to (re)claim space as well as instituting permanently.

Born in the UK of Jamaican and German parentage, Sonia grew up in Hong Kong, Zimbabwe, Cyprus, and the UK. She studied literature at the University of St Andrews and earned her MFA at Transart Institute between Berlin and New York. Sonia is a MacDowell fellow and has been recognised by the Premio Ora prize, NY Art-Slant showcase for sculpture, and the Neo Art Prize.

Sonia's recent exhibitions include the Royal Geographical Society, the National Gallery of Jamaica, 32 degrees East Gallery, Kampala, Uganda; the Heinrich Böll Institute Germany; the British Library; The Museum of Derby, and the Kunsthaus Nürnberg.

Simon Bejer

Steeped in the traditions of Western art history with an emphasis on technical skill and seductive materials, Simon was born in Melbourne and is based in London. He works across a broad range of media to explore and subvert past and present ideas of beauty, taste and the picturesque.

Simon brings his extensive experience in theatre design to bear on many aspects of his artistic practice. Play, wonder and absurdity are central to his approach, which also prizes interpretative complexity, material experimentation and decorative spectacle.

Taking cues from historical styles distorted through the geographical remoteness of his antipodean origin, SImon mashes-up the languages of earlier periods with contemporary references from popular culture embodying the saturated intensity of life in the twenty-first century.

He holds an MFA from the City & Guilds School of Art, London, where he received the prestigious Artists’ Collecting Society Studio Prize as well as the Roger De Gray Prize for Drawing. From 2022 to 2023 he held the Decorative Surfaces Fellowship of the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers where he is now an Honorary Freeman. Simon's work has been exhibited in the United Kingdom, Australia, Taiwan, and the USA.

Kristina Chan

Kristina Chan is a London-based artist working between printmaking photography, and public installation. Her practice utilises narrative and site specificity to evoke a felt history and sense of place. Inspired by post-impressionism, Japanese prints, and contemporary photography, her work explores the boundaries between individual and collective memory, and how these colliding narratives can affect our interpretation of space.

Kristina's works are a culmination and accumulation into site specific history to depict socio-cultural entropic narratives. They explore the correlation between architecture and sculptural landscapes of derelict and disused spaces.

Canadian born, Kristina has exhibited globally, most notably at the Musée du Louvre during the 5th Annual Exposure Award Black and White Collection. Her work is held in the permanent collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum, Ingram Collection of British and Modern Art, the Royal Collection Clarence House, and the Royal College of Art.

Sara van der Beek

Sara van der Beek lives and works in Brooklyn, New York where she investigates our collective and evolving relationship with photography and the photographic image. Recent work has focused on contemporary museological practices of collection and display. Within this context, Sara highlights women’s ongoing contributions to the larger material and visual cultures upon which institutional collections and art historical narratives are built.

Her solo exhibitions include at Metro Pictures, New York; Black Mountain College Museum, Asheville, NC; the Minneapolis Institute of Art; the Baltimore Museum of Art; the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland; the Foundazione Memmo, Rome; The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and the Whitney Museum of Art, New York NY.

Sara's work is in art collections worldwide including the Baltimore Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, Carnegie Museum of Art, Dallas Museum of Art, Guggenheim Museum New York, ICA Boston, MoCA Los Angeles, MoMA New York, and The Whitney Museum of American Art. She is a recipient of a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (2022) and a Pollock- Krasner Foundation grant (2023).

We are grateful and excited to be engaging with these astonishingly talented, insightful makers, and look forward to additional encounters!