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Artists Announced

The Harris is delighted to announce the artist selected for its highly anticipated commission supported by the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund. Renowned Egyptian artist Khaled Hafez will be the creative force behind the new artwork set feature in The Harris upon its reopening in 2025. This collaboration marks an exciting milestone in The Harris’ ongoing commitment to engaging audiences with thought-provoking art that explores the intersection of history, culture, and identity.

Read articles about the the commission:

The Harris announced as a partner for Imperial War Museums’ £2.5m art commissioning programme


Artist headshot of a person with their hands clasped together in front of a colourful artwork

Khaled Hafez

“As a practicing studio artist, my practice spans the mediums of Painting, video/film, photography, installation and interdisciplinary art approaches. My core research focus is the exploration of the complex nature of identity; for my painting practice, the identity I scrutinize is a one that is a composite of African, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Arab, Islamic, with ancient Egyptian and Judeo-Christian traces. In my current video, photography and other mixed media works, I am interested in movement, an element that was indispensable in ancient Egyptian painting, where all painted elements were in motion, as opposed to Egyptian sculpture that always caught the protagonists in a “pose”, nearly always static. I use a lot of symbols and codes from all ancient cultures, and from the universal heritage of the world.”

Keep up to date with Khaled Hafez on their website.


Image of a bright and colourful artwork including figures
Artist headshot of a person with their hands clasped together in front of a colourful artwork

When the Harris re-opens in 2025, it will be a timely opportunity to harness the legacy of the 14-18 NOW funding to explore the significant stories in new displays. The commission will be displayed in The Harris upon reopening and use The Harris’ unique collections to draw out stories relevant to contemporary audiences today.

Image of a bright and colourful artwork including figures and hands

The Harris’ Artist Commission

In 1908, The Harris commissioned artist John Somerscales to create one of the most unique features of the building, the Egyptian Balcony. A series of painted murals inspired by a research trip to Egypt, which includes key historical sites and interpretations of ancient tomb paintings – the organisations first art commission and arguably its most significant to date.

Remarkably, the relationship between Preston and Egypt has been little explored, despite representations of this country being at the very heart of the building. A new display in 2025 will consider why there are Egyptian artefacts in the collection, the motivations behind the creation of the Egyptian Balcony, and Egypt as a crucial supplier of cotton to Lancashire’s textile mills. Considering the British Empire, its interests in Egypt and Britain’s occupation of Egypt until the 1950s.

The IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund will support The Harris to commission Khaled Hafez, an artist of Egyptian heritage, to work with local communities to explore these shared histories of conflict and the connections that exist between Preston and Egypt – creating a new artwork that will go on display in 2025 and become part of the museum’s permanent collection.

Picture of the Harris' Egyptian Balcony

“The IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy fund builds on Imperial War Museums’ rich and longstanding history of commissioning art. One year into this programme, we are delighted by the diversity of exceptional arts experiences that have been created and shared with audiences. We look forward to expanding this work with artists, organisations and communities across the UK, continuing to highlight stories of conflict in engaging and creative ways.”
Rebecca Newell, Head of Art for Imperial War Museums

Artist headshot of a person with their hands clasped together in front of a colourful artwork

The IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund commissions forge new opportunities for artistic engagement and bring art to audiences in new and relevant ways. The IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund commissions will go on public display across the UK between 2023 and 2025. For further information about the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund, please visit the IWM website.

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