Fairouz El Tom is a visual artist based in Geneva, Switzerland. Sudanese and Swiss in heritage, she grew up in cities across Sudan, India, Nepal, the United States, and Switzerland. This instilled in her a fascination with human and natural diversity, as well as a questioning of identity construction and contemporary value systems.
Working primarily in digital photography and satellite imagery, El Tom adopts a process of layering and merging imagery of the human and natural world. This results in abstract and multi-scalar works that blur boundaries and dissolve notions of separability.
Before turning to art, El Tom worked with the UN and other smaller development and human rights organizations. She holds an MA in International Educational Development from Columbia University, and an MFA with distinction from The Glasgow School of Art.
El Tom's work was exhibited at the 13th edition of Bamako Encounters in Mali, Time in Jazz in Sardinia, and in group shows across Glasgow. She has been interviewed by Terralingua (2022) and her artwork was featured in Artnet (2023).
Where do I end and you begin? How does my idea of myself influence how I treat or understand you? You, other human, but also you, other forms of life.
These are questions that inhabit me daily.
My experience of the world is one of multiplicity, fluidity, and porous boundaries. I feel and I know that I belong to the world. I also feel and know that I am constantly being shaped by new encounters, influences, and experiences. My practice is a reflection of this reality. As such, I am not trying to create a utopia or an alternative space. I am stepping into a world that already exists. One that challenges static, exclusive, and homogenous notions of identity and that gives importance to wonder, entangled spaces, and opacity.
I work predominantly in digital photography and satellite imagery, sometimes incorporating other forms of mark making, objects, and text. My main process involves layering and merging elements of the human and the natural world, ranging from macro photographs of skin, irises and lips, to drone and satellite images. This results in abstract and multi-scalar works that blur or dissolve artificial and rigid boundaries. By disrupting what is arbitrarily designated as truth, I am interested in different possibilities of seeing and reimagining how we exist in the world.