Rehab El Sadek

Rehab El Sadek is an Egyptian-born conceptual artist whose career has spanned over 25 years, working and exhibiting in over 17 countries and 4 continents. Rehab currently lives and works in Austin, Texas. Utilizing mediums such as sound, photography, sculpture, and the written word, her work explores issues related to immigration, belonging, communication, and language.

Meet Rehab – An Interview with Rehab El Sadek

Sue Klco, Executive Director interviews Rehab El Sadek

May 8, 2020 | The Invented Language

‎كتاب Ketab, 1998 ☀️ I’m very excited! Today is my first day of Stay-in-Place Residency @goodhartartistresidency
In my early works, starting in 1997, I gave much attention to text as an essential part of my artistic practice. I translated Ancient Egyptian texts into Arabic, playing with the language to get new and interesting meanings. This method faded for a time but has come back strong in the past few years. I can’t shake the feeling that something is missing, however.
For the residency my plan is: to focus intensely on experimentation and research on language, text, calligraphy, fonts in the history of human culture. Investigating a new ‘invented language’—-Arabic language (اللغه العربيه) will be a starter layer that could be developed to endless possibilities. –

May 11, 2020 – Open to Accidents

Part of my process involves being open to accidents—intentionally leaving unfinished layers and allowing natural textures to emerge. In my early years, I spent days and days at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo looking closely at ancient relics. An art history education that extends back thousands of years! 

▪️1. كتاب  Ketab, 1997 A book made out of a wooden block

▪️2 & 3. Fragments from a Scribe’s Writing Boards, Date: ca. 2030–1981 B.C. & ca., Egypt’s Middle Kingdom

May 12, 2020

One of the things I look for in historical Arabic text books is how the blank page turns to canvas. In this example, the direction, position and size of words direct the reader’s eye to items of priority and collectively create a visual composition. 


Khulāṣat al-ḥisāb. 

/ خلاصة الحساب


  • ʻĀmilī, Bahāʼ al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Ḥusayn, 1547-1621
  • عاملي.بهاء الدين محمد بن حسين،

May 13, 2020

In this example, direction, position, size of words, and color direct the reader’s eye to items of priority and collectively create a visual composition.

Title – Handbook for composing letters

Language – Ottoman Turkish (1500-1928)

Origin – 1775-1825


On writing (inshāʼ). An Arabic-Ottoman glossary of terms used in writing official and unofficial letters, followed by short lessons on composing different types of letters; a short arithmetic lesson and a list of the month names in Arabic conclude the work.

May 14, 2020

Ketab كتاب


A clear, pure form cuts across and delivers the message

May 18, 2020

I give an aged effect to linen by treating it with oxide mixes—a process I learned by researching the history of mummy wrapping in ancient Egypt. I’ve spent days taking color samples at the packed mummy room in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.  After many years of practice, I can do this blindfolded—but often like to refresh, look at my labeled Pantone grid, or jump to any nearby museum and check more mummies.

Image 2: Mummy Bandage

Period: Third Intermediate Period–Late Period

Dynasty: Dynasty 22–26

Date: ca. 945–525 B.C.

Geography: From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Deir el-Bahri

May 20, 2020

reaction -> conformity – routine -> change learning ways of seeing different value in text through history of design—why and how certain forms appeal to us or have changed

Viewing Rick Poynor 

Helvetica (2007) Documentary, 

explores the history and proliferation of the typeface, interviewing leading graphic and type designers.

May 21, 2020

Turning my attention back to Arabic text. I often looked at them as complex but, during my latest research, I’ve learned to rethink the full page image setting and evaluate the pureness in  sin·gu·lar·i·ty. 

Image 2 & 3 

textile fragments 

10th – 11th century 

attributed to Egypt 

May 22, 2020

Today is my last day with the stay-in-place residency @goodhartartistresidency Although I wish I could have been in this beautiful part of Michigan, I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to focus on work! The images here are from my first day at residency. Beautiful homemade scones arrived at my door as a welcoming gift—so thoughtful and very yummy! Thank you Sue and Bill ❤️ So thankful for this opportunity,  your hospitality, and the gift of time that allowed me to rethink methodologies and plants the seed for a new body of work☀

Gallery of Highlighting Some of Rehab’s Previous Work