Excavation 3: 'Sayed'

Excavation 3: Ellie Ga, "Sayed" (video and sound, in Arabic with English subtitles, running time: 4 minutes)

“Sayed, a dive guide in Alexandria, describes navigating among the thousands of lighthouse stones underwater. Combined with the interview is footage I filmed of Sayed among the ruins over the course of a diving season.” —Ellie Ga

In our third Excavation, Gabrielle Giattino returns for a conversation with Ellie Ga, an artist that she represents and whose video series, Gyres, was produced for the 2019 Whitney Biennial, a work that Holland Cotter writing in the New York Times described as “a truly extraordinary video triptych, [that] weaves together archaeology, oceanography and social justice by recording the recovery of ancient remains from the Aegean, the tidal drift of Japanese tsunami debris to the Greek islands and the arrival of asylum seekers and refugees to those same islands.” Click here to read the article. View the conversation with Ga and Giattino below.

Ga was scheduled to screen the work here at Bryn Mawr in April 2020 for its Philadelphia premier. Despite the cancellation we are exploring ways in which to engage with Ga in the year to come! In anticipation, we present her video Sayed.

Sayed is a part of Ga's Square, Octagon, Circle project which focuses on the historical and archaeological site of the lighthouse of Alexandria. Throughout a wide range of artistic interventions that include research-based multimedia lecture-performances, videos, works on paper and a slideshow, Ga explores the limits of our ability to know the past—whether it persists in submerged ruins, remnants of texts or fragments of memories. 

Exhibition History

  • Ellie Ga: Pharos, M - Museum Leuven, Leuven, 2014-2015
  • You cannot step twice into the same river, Pump House Gallery, London, 2014
  • It Was Restored Again, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, 2014
  • Ellie Ga: Square, Octagon, Circle, Grand Arts, Kansas City, 2013 


  • Lauren O'Neill-Butler, Square, Octagon, Circle, Grand Arts, Kansas City, Summer 2013
  • Jennifer Kabat, In Focus: Ellie Ga, Frieze, 174, October 2015.

Ellie Ga is a New York-born, Stockholm-based, artist whose immersive, wide-ranging investigations include the classification of stains on city sidewalks to the charting of the quotidian in the frozen reaches of the Arctic Ocean. In performances and video installations, Ga’s braided narratives intertwine extensive research with first-hand experiences that often follow uncertain leads and take unexpected turns. She has exhibited and performed internationally at the New Museum, The Kitchen, and the Guggenheim Museum (New York), M-Museum (Leuven), and Le Grand Café (Saint-Nazaire), among many others.

Ga is the author of Square Octagon Circle (Siglio Press, New York) and Three Arctic Booklets (Ugly Duckling Presse). Ga was a recent recipient of a three-year Swedish Research Council artistic research grant. Her video series Gyres was produced by the Whitney Museum of American Art for the 2019 Whitney Biennial in New York.

Her work is in the public collections of The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York City) the Albright-Knox Museum (Buffalo), FRAC Franche-Comté (Besançon), Fondation Galeries Lafayette (Paris); Hannebauer Collection (Berlin), the Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College (New York), and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Ga is a co-founder of the publishing press Ugly Duckling Presse in Brooklyn.

Gabrielle Giattino graduated from Haverford College with a degree in the history of art. She opened Bureau, a contemporary art gallery, in New York City in 2010 following a curatorial partnership with Howie Chen called Dispatch. Bureau represents a close-knit group of artists from emerging to established, many of whom are featured in prominent international exhibitions, biennials and represented in numerous public collections. Many of these artists had previously worked with Dispatch, including Erica Baum, Tom Holmes, Lionel Maunz, and Ellie Ga. Upcoming projects include solo exhibitions at the gallery with Patricia Treib and Caleb Considine, as well as a solo presentation by Diane Severin Nguyen at Art Basel Statements later this year.

Click here to visit Excavation 1: Thunderbird.

Click here to visit Excavation 2: Malpaso.