October 7, 2021

Lawrence Abu Hamdan: 2021 Fall Audain Visual Artist in Residence

School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University

Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Once Removed, 2019. Two-channel video installation with sound. Courtesy the artist and Maureen Paley.

The SFU School for the Contemporary Arts and SFU Galleries are pleased to welcome Lawrence Abu Hamdan as the 2021 Fall Audain Visual Artist in Residence.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan is best known for investigating the politics of sound, whether that be “ear witness” accounts gathered from prisoners tortured at Syria’s Saydnaya prison under Assad’s regime, or critiques of the use of accent tests to validate asylum claims in Europe. Through works of video, sculpture, performance, and installation, Abu Hamdan persistently interrogates the interpretive limits and truth claims of audio information. He studies how sound roots itself in memory, how it is inseparable from vision, and ultimately, as the artist states, how it is uncontainable: “part of the messiness of the world.”

During his time in Vancouver Abu Hamdan will present NATQ: A Live Audiovisual Essay, a free public performance in the form of a live audiovisual essay. He will present a solo exhibition For the Otherwise Unaccounted at the Audain Gallery. Together with SFU professor Sabine Bitter, Abu Hamdan will lead a seminar and conduct studio visits with students at the School for the Contemporary Arts.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan is currently based in Dubai. He holds a PhD from Goldsmiths College University of London and was a fellow at the Gray Centre for Arts and Inquiry at the University of Chicago, and the Vera List Centre for Art and Politics at the New School (New York). Abu Hamdan has exhibited his work at the 58th Venice Biennale, the 11th Gwanju Biennale, and the 13th and 14th Sharjah Biennial, as well as at the Witte De With (Rotterdam), Tate Modern Tanks (London), Chisenhale Gallery (London), Hammer Museum (Los Angeles), Portikus (Frankfurt), The Showroom (London), and Casco Art Institute (Utrecht). Abu Hamdan was awarded the 2019 Edvard Munch Art Award, the 2016 Nam June Paik Award for new media, and in 2017 his film Rubber Coated Steel won the Tiger short film award at the Rotterdam International Film Festival. For the 2019 Turner Prize, Abu Hamdan, together with nominated artists Helen Cammock, Oscar Murillo, and Tai Shani, formed a temporary collective in order to be jointly granted the award.

About the Audain Visual Artist in Residence
The Audain Visual Artist in Residence (AVAIR) program brings artists and practitioners to Vancouver who have contributed significantly to the field of contemporary art and whose work resonates with local and international visual art discourses. Past residences have included Heba Y. Amin, Alejandro Cesarco, Raven Chacon, Sarah Pierce, Walid Raad, Jalal Toufic, Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn, Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Hito Steyerl, and many others. The visiting artists interact with the students and faculty of the School for the Contemporary Arts as well as the broader visual arts and cultural communities. In keeping with the experimental nature of the School for the Contemporary Arts the terms of engagement are open and change from artist to artist. The cornerstone of the residency is the sharing of artistic research. At the start of the global pandemic artists and curators such as Tanya Lukin Linklater, Pablo José Ramirez, Jeremy Deller, Irena Haiduk, Sanja Iveković, Charles Gaines, Samson Young, and Ursula Johnson participated in our Visual Art Forum. The AVAIR program is generously funded by the Audain Foundation Endowment Fund.

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