Inspired by Norwegian polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen, who developed the 'Nansen Sledge' to cross Greenland in 1888, Sayed Sattar Hasan has fused traditional Norwegian and Pakistani crafts to make a hybrid sledge. In doing so, he has become Norway's first traditional Charpai-kjelke maker under the new identity of Hasansen.
Rather than venture into uncharted geographical landscapes, Hasansens Kjelke explores cultural frontiers as he aims to find new ways of discussing cultural and national identities. The presence of different cultures in society becomes the artists starting point as he attempts to imagine the possibility of new objects and histories that reflect the condition of contemporary society. The project addresses questions on tradition and heritage and the tensions between preserving the past and embracing change. The charpai-kjelke thus becomes a hybridised object that connects multiple cultures while also expressing a new cultural territory that goes beyond simplistic notions of national identity.
In order to make the first version of Hasansens Kjelke, the artist built relationships with a number of individuals whose contributions were vital in realising the project. Thomas Aslaksby, a ski maker from Valdres, Norway, played a key role in making the skis and frame, while also providing essential advice on the kjelkes design. Tayyeb Hassan, a charpaimaker from Sheikhupura, Pakistan, crafted the legs using a traditional foot-lathe, which gave the kjelke a distinct south-Asian quality. Finally, the mattress of the Charpai-kjelke was completed by Oslo residents Ruhkaia and Iqbal, a married couple who had not woven a charpai for over 50 years, since migrating to Oslo from Pakistan.
Hasansen tested the kjelke at Kolsås Ski centre, Oslo, in February 2020, where it performed both high-speed and stationary tasks with impressive results.
Ski – Originates from the Norse word Skíð; which means to divide or split. The traditional process of making wooden skis involves felling a tree and splitting a log in two, providing material for each ski.
Charpai – A derivative from Hindi and Persian, meaning four feet. A charpai is a type of divan, common to south-Asia. It is typically used as a bed, or seat, and can be found in the home or outside.
Kjelke –The Norwegian word for sledge or toboggan.
Hasansen – A name which combines the artists surname ‘Hasan’, with the common Scandinavian name ending ‘sen’.
In 2020-2021, Sogn og Fjordane Art Museum (SFKM) received 5 million Norwegian kroner from the Ministry of Culture. The endowment was given in extraordinary grants for art purchases. SFKM was supported to stimulate artistic activity among Norwegian artists and to maintain the business of the galleries.
The funds have been designated the purchase of art by contemporary artists living in Norway. This endowment has given SFKM a rare opportunity to develop the collection. The museum's main goal has been to reflect the diversity of artists in Norway. The chosen artworks promote a broad representation and highlight less visible stories in society. The video work “Hasansens kjelke” was one of these extraordinary purchases.
Sayed Sattar Hasan is a British born artist based in Oslo, Norway. His practice is process-based and freely uses different mediums to suit his ideas. His current artistic approach could be described as 'post-pop, conceptual crafts'.
Hasan’s work explores the parameters of national identity, heritage and belonging and the fault lines between tradition and change. He is also interested in the notion of legitimacy, within the ecology of the wider art world. The narratives Hasan develops are often interwoven with his own biography and told with a degree of humour, to balance the absolute seriousness of his intensions.
In addition to his immediate practice, Hasan is interested in creating alternative spaces to discuss, critique and experience art. He is co-founder and group convener of the ‘PRAKSIS Development Forum (PDF)’, an artist peer support group developed in collaboration with PRAKSIS, Olso, and ‘Head of Institutional Emotions’ at Detroit Kunsthalle.
Read more about the artist on his website.