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Stitches represent scars at Beirut blast survivor’s art show

Palestinian artist Majd Abdel Hamid, who survived the 2020 Beirut blasts, has opened his first solo show in Brussels this month, showcasing embroidery and video installations to pass the time.

Born in Syria and now living in Beirut, 33-year-old visual artist Majd Abdel Hamid embroiders everything he collects from clothing and cushions to kitchen towels.

Sometimes colored and sometimes white on white, they are drawn as an abstract depiction of times and places, touching upon wars, political and economic crises. COVID-19 global pandemic.

Palestinian artist Majd Abdel Hamid at his exhibition “A Stitch in Times” in Brussels. (Reuters/Yves Hermann)

“It has been like an acceleration of trauma. It is not a single trauma that has happened to you. Processing what has happened has been quite challenging and how you can deal with it,” Abdel Hamid told Reuters TV.

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

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

Palestinian artist Majd Abdel Hamid Palestinian artist Majd Abdel Hamid Artist The embroidery stitches in his “A Stitch in Times” represent mental and physical scars. (Reuters/Yves Hermann)

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

Another showed them laying white sheets in their house.

“Embroidery has always been used to celebrate the pride of a country, the pride of a family, it is about motifs. When you embroider raw reality, dramatic situations or violence, it creates tension,” They said.

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