Contra-Diction in Art Forum

On the opening night of Meeting Points 7, Lawrence Abu Hamdan presented a riveting new piece in the Beirut Art Center’s auditorium, a lecture-performance about lying that moved deftly through police procedurals, courtroom testimonies, Shiite jurisprudence, and the concept of taqqiya, for which a religious adherent either denies or blasphemes his faith to save his own life. Abu Hamdan pushed the phenomenon further to consider “more complex forms of self-representation that have a political potency beyond self-preservation.” Exploring taqqiya in relation to stories that began circulating in December, about eighteen Druze villages in northern Syria where a renegade sheikh was said to have forced inhabitants to convert to Sunni Islam, he blurred the boundaries between “submissive and subversive,” between “traitor and translator,” and between “free speech and speaking truly.”

- Kaelen Goldie-Wilson writing in artforum