winter edition

Mutant Histories

by Pansee Atta with Nadah El Shazly

curated by Amin Alsaden

In this collaboration, Pansee Atta and Nadah El Shazly present a joint-performance that catalyzes shared interests across their artistic practices. Specifically, while employing new media and experimental methodologies, both artists examine the history of their familial homeland, Egypt, invigorating the past through layered processes of reclamation, remixing, and reimagination. Taking a deep dive into collections and archives that purport to capture the history of Egypt and its cultures, Atta’s work explores how otherized bodies have been instrumentalized over time, and uses animations to morph art objects and museological artefacts into unrecognizable new forms, thus asking how existing modes of representation and classification reflect problematic colonial legacies. Using field recordings, instruments, and voices, El Shazly’s work excavates nineteenth century popular Egyptian music, reinventing familiar or obscured melodies by creating dynamic compositions that raise questions about contemporary perceptions of time. By aligning their practices in this collaboration, the artists challenge the uses and abuses of history, and present original, enigmatic, and mutant forms that propel cultural traditions into captivating future visions.

Pansee Atta work image

A headshot of Pansee Atta

Pansee Atta is an Egyptian-Canadian artist, curator, and researcher living and working on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabe nation in Ottawa, Canada. Using a variety of new media including animation, video, installation, sculpture, and painting, her work examines themes of representation, migration, archives, and political struggle. Previous residencies include the Impressions Residency Award at the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, the SparkBox Studio Award, and at the Atelier of Alexandria. Previous exhibitions have taken place in collaboration with SAW Video in Ottawa, at Galerie La Centrale Powerhouse and Z Art Space in Montréal, the Art Gallery of Mississauga, and other contemporary Canadian arts spaces. Her curatorial projects include UTOPIAS, a community-based performance art festival in Kingston, Ontario, and Home/Making, an exhibition at the Canada Council Art Bank. Her ongoing research and activist practice centers community-based responses to colonial projects of collection, display, study.