Fathi Hassan was born in Cairo in 1957 to Nubian and Egyptian parents. His family were forced to leave their homeland of Nubia when the Aswan High Dam was built in 1952, flooding a vast area now under Lake Nasser. Whether in photographs, paintings, installations, drawings or, often, directly on walls, his texts are deliberately illegible intended to highlight the plight of lost languages and oral history as a result of colonial domination.
With invented Kufic-inspired scripts, he plays with the symbols, textures and calligraphy of his Nubian heritage to explore the space between graphic symbolism and literal meaning in vibrant colours and collage. Forms are often given to these texts which can become as important as the text itself.
His work is in the permanent collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Museum, London and the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington DC and Farjam Collections among many others.