11 Feb 2024 - 28 Apr 2024

Counting Fingers

421 Arts Campus


In this major solo exhibition, Hana El-Sagini presents a newly commissioned large-scale installation rooted in the instability and fragility of the human experience. The installation showcases over 200 fantastical ceramic objects, culminating in surreal sculptures and structures that replicate and reimagine healthcare spaces, such as medical waiting rooms, hospital corridors, and doctors’ offices. These spaces, typically perceived as sterile and stoic domains, are transformed into dreamlike sites that are bizarre, eerie, and amusing. Taking over Gallery 1, the showcased work immerses visitors in the artist’s deeply personal world.

Counting Fingers reflects El-Sagini’s intimate perspective on trauma. Produced after a long battle with illness, the objects featured in this exhibition encourage viewers to find joy and humor in envisioning a strange world where humans, animals, plants, and inanimate objects blend into semi-distinguishable forms and figures. Provocative and elusive, the exhibition prompts us to pause and contemplate the inherent mechanisms within our nervous systems that enable us to endure pain, trauma, fear, and adversity. These mechanisms, both human and supernatural, empower us to overcome and internalize trauma in ways that may potentially reconnect us with our vulnerability and, ultimately, our humanity.

El-Sagini is a participant in the 2024 cycle of the 421 Artistic Development Program, organized in partnership with The Institute for Emerging Art.

Press release from 421

Image: Hana El-Sagini. Installation view of Counting Fingers at 421 Arts Campus, Abu Dhabi, 2024. Photography by Ismail Noor, Seeing Things. Image courtesy of 421