Habiba El-Sayed

Artist Statement

With performative, durational, and sculptural works, Habiba El-Sayed’s interdisciplinary approach to ceramics highlights ephemeralness and materiality while negotiating aspects of her identity as a Guyanese-Egyptian, Muslim woman living in North America. Exploring the way marginalized people see themselves, the world and how the world sees them in return, her work is ultimately about perception. Both historically and contemporarily, El-Sayed considers the power dynamics of the gaze and the lasting impact of the often-distorted portrayals of Muslim women and people of color. Challenging the confines of misrepresentation, her work is a celebration of body autonomy, nuance, and resilience.


Inspired by Islamic architecture and human vulnerability, Toronto-based interdisciplinary artist Habiba El-Sayed uses a variety of materials, performance, and temporal techniques to illustrate her concepts. Her work focuses on connecting to, exploring, and interpreting aspects of her identity. Habiba holds an Advanced Diploma from Sheridan College in Ceramics (2014) and a BFA in Ceramics from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (2016). She recently completed a three-year residency at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto (2019). El-Sayed’s work has been shown in galleries and museums across North America and she has been featured in publications such as Fusion Magazine and Studio Potter. She currently creates out of Clay Space studio in Toronto’s East End and post-pandemic will return to the position of Pottery Technician and Instructor at Markham Museum.