DiscoverAustin Art TalkEpisode 77: Rehab El Sadek - Transient
Episode 77: Rehab El Sadek - Transient

Episode 77: Rehab El Sadek - Transient

Update: 2019-11-23


“As any conceptual artist you feel like you are a reflection of the people around you. It’s not like you do what people want. It’s more like you try to just feel, what is the concerns or what is the highlights of your society. And how to connect people. And how to connect with people. And that’s what I love making through art.”

Rehab El Sadek is a conceptual artist who’s work often has the aesthetic of objects discovered in the course of an archeological dig. And even though the work may have been just created, the mystery of it’s provenance and age allow the viewers imagination to expand and explore all of the rich and intriguing possibilities. Rehab’s work gets inspiration from all of the different places that she travels and from the people that she meets and what she can discover and learn from them. Her work evolves through time as she converses with those who view her exhibitions. There in those dialogues she finds the next steps of growth and reaction. Her newest exhibition, Transient, explores how we can better learn to understand each other and what it is to belong and where you call home. What a delightfully sincere and thoughtful conversation this is. Please enjoy and be sure to check out Rehab’s work online and in person if possible.

The Memory Palace exhibtion at Big Medium, June 2019

The Memory Palace exhibtion at Big Medium, June 2019

The Memory Palace exhibtion at Big Medium, June 2019

Statement & Bio courtesy of Rehab's website


I value the opportunities art provides me to connect with people on an emotional and intellectual level. Meditation on interior space, immersion into unique overlooked outdoor places, and examination of alarming social and political trends taking place in the world inform the artistic inquiries of my practice.


Austin-based/Egyptian-born Rehab El Sadek is a conceptual artist whose career has spanned over 25 years. Meditation on space and immersion into overlooked places inform the artistic inquiries of her practice. She has initiated workshops and creative social practice interventions on issues ranging from women’s rights in Sinai to the challenges facing disadvantaged children in Nairobi.

El Sadek has participated in group and solo shows at Lumen Travo Gallery (Amsterdam), Borusan Art Gallery (Istanbul), Ashkal Alwan (Beirut), the L.A. Freewaves Festival at MOCA Geffen Contemporary (Los Angeles), La Photographie Africaine (Bamako), and The Women's Museum (Dallas). In 1999, she was chosen by Jannis Kounellis for his Pavilion at Biennale Dei Giovanni Artisti (Rome). In 2009, she was part of “Rebelle: Art and Feminism 1969 - 2009” at Museum voor Moderne Kunst (Arnhem). Her awards and residences include the UNESCO-supported Artists’ Bursaries at Gasworks Artists Studios (London) and the Thami Mnyele Residency Award (Amsterdam). She is also the recipient of an Installation Prize at the Sharjah Biennale (Emirates).

In 2017, El Sadek was named the City of Austin’s first Artist-in-Residence, exploring environmental and social issues embedded in the city’s Watershed Protection Department. Her current, deeply personal work draws inspiration from ancient and classical architecture, modern architectural theory and explores broad themes of immigration, belonging, communication, and language. El Sadek holds a degree in art from the University of Alexandria (Egypt).

Current and upcomming

Thin City, 2019, Mixed media on paper, 28 x 37in

Rehab El Sadek: Transient

Prizer Arts & Letters

2023 E Cesar Chavez St

(512) 575-3559

Through January 4th, 2020

With Transient, artist Rehab El Sadek continues her exploration into issues related to immigration, belonging, communication and language. Utilizing sound installation, photography and the written word, El Sadek meditates on residential spaces and our relationship to them and to each other.

Transient at Prizer Arts & Letters

Some of the subjects we discuss:

Artist statement


Positive change

Support for the arts

Fathers influence


Human culture

Aged objects

Feedback from viewer

Life as a child

Always by the window

Art school/painting

Beautiful time of life

Working in fashion

1st Cairo exhibition

Book sculptures

Traveling from Egypt

London-Empty Shapes

Moving to the US

Self preservation

Being an immigrant

Moving to Austin

Artist in residence

Watershed protection

The Memory Palace

Architectural projections

Building the pyramid

Transient exhibition

Different voices

Community involvement

Making connections


This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Intro music generously provided by Stan Killian

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Episode 77: Rehab El Sadek - Transient

Episode 77: Rehab El Sadek - Transient

Scott David Gordon