Stitches represent scars in art exhibit of Beirut explosion survivors

Palestinian artist Majd Abdel Hamid, a survivor of the Beirut explosion in 2020, opened his first solo exhibition in Brussels this month, with displays of embroidery and video installations to convey the passage of time.

Born in Syria and now based in Beirut, 33-year-old visual artist Majd Abdel Hamid embroiders fabrics he collects and objects he finds, from cushions to kitchen towels.

Sometimes colorful and sometimes just white on white, they are designed as an abstract representation of the time and places it has been, evoking wars, political and economic crises, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Palestinian artist Majd Abdel Hamid during his exhibition “A Stitch in Times” in Brussels. (REUTERS / Yves Herman)

“It was like an acceleration of the trauma. It’s not even a trauma that you have. It was quite difficult to deal with what happened and how can you deal with it, ”Abdel Hamid told Reuters TV.

Abdel Hamid was injured in the explosion of ammonium nitrate stored in the port of Beirut in August 2020, with fragments of wood still stuck under a scar on his head. The stitches in his “A Stitch in Times” represent mental and physical scars.

The exhibition in an exhibition space of the Fondation d’entreprise Hermes, behind the Hermes store in Brussels will be the first exhibition of all of his work.

Palestinian artist, Palestinian artist Majd Abdel Hamid, artist Majd Abdel Hamid The stitches in his “A Stitch in Times” represent mental and physical scars. (REUTERS / Yves Herman)

Abdel Hamid describes embroidery as a “timeless medium”, a slow process of making and undoing. An exhibition piece, “Salt of the Earth”, shows threads suspended and crystallized by salt.

Another shows him undoing white sheets at his house.

“Embroidery is still used to celebrate the pride of a country, the pride of the family, it’s about patterns. When you embroider raw reality, dramatic situations or violence, it creates tension, ”he said.

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