Hassan Aliyu

working on the piece Escaping Hell Fire

Dr Hassan Aliyu (DProf), FRSA, is a distinguished British-born artist acclaimed for his transformative collaged paintings. He is a member of the Guild of Professional Fine Artists of Nigeria (MGFA) and also serves as the president of the Nigeria Art Society UK (NASUK). Dr Aliyu’s work delves into the impact of global capitalism on the Global South, as well as the enduring legacies of enslavement and colonialism. 


Aliyu’s innovative use of recyclable materials began during Nigeria’s Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) in the 1980s while he was studying at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria. His art is inspired by the vibrant packaging of consumer goods from local and colonial-era conglomerates. This inspiration led to the enrichment of his theoretical and thematic practice, as he navigated the IMF-induced austerity measures that restricted art materials importation. 


His artistic exploration encompasses Africa’s historical and contemporary states, focusing on the effects of slavery, colonialism, and capitalist exploitation. Informed by personal experiences with state-sponsored and racially motivated violence, as well as influenced by family distress during the UK’s Windrush scandal, Aliyu’s work delves into Nigeria’s socio-economic challenges. 


Dr Aliyu’s academic research critiques Western cultural imperialism, consumerism, and third-world debt, revealing their roles in perpetuating global dominance. Through his art, he fosters meaningful discourse on Africa’s developmental trajectory and advocates for social justice.

“The sources of Hassan’s work both historical and contemporary, are often metaphors for wider themes of race and change. The sheer dynamism of Hassan’s work is particularly clear. He binds energy and movement in paint producing vibrant images that fascinate and provoke. With references in technique to the dynamic images of the Italian Futurists, Hassan elucidates themes and issues with an absorbing lyricism and energy.”  – Mark Bills, Curator, Russell Coates Museum and Art Gallery, Dorset, UK