2002 – 2022
“Native Cell” is an ongoing project that questions the relationship between languages and the sociopolitical power dynamics within modern societies. Driven by the tension between the need to communicate and the need to hide, a language was created as an act towards decolonizing language and opening new channels and opportunities surrounding identity.
In different chapters of the project, Nish evolved from a written to a spoken language that expands through different artworks and forms. Originally, Nish was born out of necessity as a visual language I created in 2002 to write freely without censorship. After the Egyptian revolution in 2011, Nish became a symbolic and useful rebellion against censorship and cultural colonization, specifically as it relates to the dominance of U.S. culture and English as the lingua franca of the art world.
In 2014, I wrote my first book, an autobiography written in Nish, declaring my power in the presence of my language. In 2018, I performed a 3-minute intervention called “Naznah Musajih,” in which I speak Nish. In 2020, I worked on developing the phonetics of Nish language to be able to present a sound album manipulating the existing languages and presenting Nish in a form an accessible form. In 2021, I created a zine manipulating the visual development of English alphabets in favor of Nish language in an act of reverse colonization.
“Native Cell” moves through different phases and in different places, collaborating with artists around the world, building a dictionary for a language made of artworks that represent a rising culture, including samples of music, films, books, and texts. Collaborative artworks enforce the language. In turn, the language influences the culture and reinforces the language, a cycle of destruction and recreation.
Medrar for contemporary art.
Cairo, Egypt, 2021
“Native cell – Source ” Manipulates the visual development of English language Alphabets on Wikipedia, in favor of “Nish” language and presents the possibility of new lands through painting and photography.
Native cell – Reset
researches the nature of language power relations in cosmopolitan cities.
“Reset” is an album sampling human voice, extracted beats, melodies and ambient sounds from interviews made in different languages. It represents the first attempt to normalize the existence of “Nish” language through intervening in a musical context. The main goal is the reconstruction of existing languages to create a language for a preferred future.
The cite internationale des arts.
Paris, France, 2020
“Native cell – Reset” 2020 focused on studying the underground electronic music movement happening in Paris, exploring the possibility of integrating a new language into the current music movement, and documenting it through a series of photos and videos.
Native cell -Naznah musajih
Free Fair, Art Basel.
Miami, USA, 2018
Native cell – Garble
Nabta Art Center.
Cairo, Egypt, 2014
Symbols created by the “Nish” language alphabet.