Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s practice considers the relationship between speech acts, listening and human rights, often in the context of religious minorities seeking self-protection.

Focusing on the stories of alleged mass conversions of the Muslim Druze minority in Northern Syria by the more dominant fundamentalist Wahhabi Muslim groups, Abu Hamdan’s work Contra Diction: Speech Against Itself describes how minor speech acts can help us to re-appraise the precision of speaking, the many ways of remaining silent and the unfaithful nature of one’s voice. within the work, the artist himself considers the linguistics of Taqiyya, an old piece of Islamic jurisprudence practiced by esoteric minorities that allows believing individuals to deny their faith or commit otherwise illegal acts when they are at risk of persecution or in a condition of statelessness.
The work is a two-channel video installation, with one of the screens being a teleprompter – an apparatus from which the political lie often originates. As a transparent device, it presents a video through which to view the larger monitor, symbolising both duplicity and transparency.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan lives and works in Beirut.
Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s work is on display at Göteborgs Konsthall.


Contra Diction: Speech Against Itself, installation view WheredoIendandyoubegin – On Secularity, Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art 2017, Göteborgs Konsthall. Photo Hendrik Zeitler.