Rashid Campbell Nov 2020

Sharing drawn and printed portrait of Rashid Campbell. Rashid supports many of artist Mohammed Ali’s projects and is an active volunteer in Balsall Heath, Birmingham UK. He was aware of my portrait making and had said he would be happy to be drawn. Pre Christmas I found myself sitting opposite him in a restaurant as he engaged in active conversation. Towards the end of the evening as we prepared to leave we larked around the lobby and he got on the FOOD bike.

Rashid, Tahini Digbeth Birmingham UK

The photographs from the evening captured Rashid’s character and the prominent hand movements emphasised his enthusiastic engagement with the assembled group. On in particular reflected these characteristics and became the basis for a drawn portrait. This was not fulfilled until the end of the first UL Covid Lockdown when a drawing was made using a new technique of sanded surface preparation to draw on. Once printed Mohammed suggested I share them and gave me Rashid’s WhatsApp contact as he was in quarantine following a trip to support Syrian Refugees in Lebanon. At first I was reticent to share small images on WhatsApp, but Ali encouraged me as he was interested to hear Rashid’s response.

Immediately a voicemail message appeared on my WhatsApp. Below is a transcript.

Wow hi John wow. I’m a, uh I’m lost for words I’m honoured, flattered and I’ve got the same shirt on .. laughs..  its my favourite shirt .. I’m  just on the way back from Lebanon on the train heading towards Birmingham and that looks fantastic. Inshallah. After a couple of weeks of quarantine we can meet up. Thank you very much mate.

I’m just looking at it now and I think you’ve ….. I describe myself to people, or people describe me Rashid  as a grafter  … and I think you’ve caught that in this picture and that’s how I like to consider myself as a grafter, go out there and do the work. Get it done. Laughs. So I can see the labour on my face. I love it.

I think it’s got a bit of a Paul Newman cool hand luke to it with the blue eyes, I mean obviously you’ve used pencils and stuff but you’ve captured the blue eyes brilliant. I just wish I’d trimmed my beard a bit more, but I suppose it adds to the character. Fantastic. 

Oh jonnie, just come back from some refugee camps in Lebanon and some of the people’s faces there .. its full of stories, just their faces, you would be in your element with these subjects 

Image Syrian refugees found shelter in Lebanon …. only for their home to be destroyed during the recent ammonium nitrate explosion in the port.


We have arranged to meet when Rashid comes out of quarantine and Lockdown measures are relaxed in December. I look forward to sharing the full size prints.