For Investec Cape Town Art Fair 2020 we present a solo by Fathi Hassan (b. 1957, Cairo), featuring a series of collaged works that engage with the symbols, textures and calligraphy of invented, Kufic-inspired scripts, exploring the space between graphic symbolism and literal meaning.


A Nubian Egyptian artist now living and working in Edinburgh, Fathi Hassan’s practice focuses on the interaction between spoken and written language, tracing the importance of oral traditions and ancient languages threatened by colonialism. Single letters, words or entire sentences are repeated to form captivating yet illegible ‘texts’ that draw from Arabic calligraphy, abstract and figurative designs and symbols, allowing for shifting meaning and multiple interpretations of the words and invented graphic signs. Hassan’s dream-like stories explore issues of migration, memory, cultural belonging and loss. Born in Cairo to a Nubian family, Hassan has lived in Italy since 1984 and recently relocated to Scotland. His work reflects an identity in constant flux.


Presented as part of the fair's TOMORROWS/TODAY section the exhibition is a curation of various paintings and drawings. Diverse in style, their sizes span from postcard to large sheets. The selection is not exhaustive, instead focused as thematic groups that highlight certain aspects, while linking them all into a wider dialogue, a tale that seems to expand beyond the frame, which passes from work to work.