List Projects 25: Azza El Siddique

Installation image of six cream colored ceramic vases on an artist-made steel shelving unit. All but one of the vases is broken.

Azza El Siddique, What is left is only water, 2019 (detail), Steel, fired slip cast, water, slow drip irrigation system, cement bricks, 84 x 47 x 30 in. (213.4 x 119.4 x 72.6 cm). Courtesy the artist and Helena Anrather, New York. Photo: Sebastian Bach

Bakalar Gallery
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Azza El Siddique
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In summer 2022, the MIT List Visual Arts Center will present Azza El Siddique’s first institutional solo exhibition.

The New Haven-based artist is known for room-sized sculptural environments that take up the related themes of entropy, impermanence, and mortality. El Siddique’s welded-steel structures are based on the forms of ancient Nubian sacred sites, including ritual and funerary temples. Her purpose-built architectures support the smaller sculptural forms of vases, urns, and fragmented figures rendered in glass and unfired ceramic. Water droplets, released through slow-drip irrigation systems, gradually erode the clay and oxidize the steel in a dynamic material process through which the artist’s works undergo an entropic transformation from creation to dissolution.

El Siddique’s installations evolve over time, and are experienced with multiple senses. Incremental and controlled, the steady trickle of water is audible. In some works, heat lamps diffuse the scents of sandalwood oil (used to cleanse and prepare bodies for Muslim burial) and a blend of myrrh, rose, frankincense, sandalwood, and other fragrant oils (often worn as a perfume by Sudanese woman), evoking both Islamic mortuary rituals and the artist’s sensorial recollections of her adolescence in a Sudanese community in Canada. El Siddique’s work foregrounds slow events of material reorganization and their residues, a process she likens to the subjective, unstable, and mutable production of both historical narratives and personal legacies.

Azza El Siddique (b. 1984 Khartoum, Sudan) lives and works in New Haven, CT. Previous solo exhibitions include Begin in smoke, end in ashes, Helena Anrather, New York; let me hear you sweat, Cooper Cole, Toronto, ON; Concave Conflux Convex, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto; Lattice be Transparent, 8eleven, Toronto. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at MOCA Toronto; Gardiner Museum, Toronto; Oakville Galleries, Toronto; Shin Gallery, New York; Green Hall Gallery, New Haven; Towards, Miami; and Parisian Laundry, Miami. El Siddique received an MFA from Yale University School of Art in 2019 and a BFA from Ontario College of Art and Design University in 2014. She was a Skowhegan resident in 2019.

List Projects 25: Azza El Siddique is organized by Selby Nimrod, Assistant Curator.


Exhibitions at the List Center are made possible with the support of Fotene & Tom Coté, Audrey & James Foster, Idee German Schoenheimer, Joyce Linde, Cynthia & John Reed, and Sara-Ann & Robert Sanders. Additional funding for List Projects 25: Azza El Siddique is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

General operating support is provided by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; the Council for the Arts at MIT; Philip S. Khoury, Associate Provost at MIT; the MIT School of Architecture + Planning; the Mass Cultural Council; and many generous individual donors. In-kind media sponsorship provided by 90.9 WBUR. The Advisory Committee Members of the List Visual Arts Center are gratefully acknowledged.