Biennale of Sydney

Lawrence Abu Hamdan

Lawrence Abu Hamdan, 'Once Removed', 2019. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Cockatoo Island. Originally commissioned by Sharjah Biennial 14. Presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with assistance from the Council for Australia-Arab Relations of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Maureen Paley and mor charpentier. Courtesy the artist. Photograph: Alex Robinson.
Lawrence Abu Hamdan, 'Once Removed', 2019. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Cockatoo Island. Originally commissioned by Sharjah Biennial 14. Presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with assistance from the Council for Australia-Arab Relations of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Maureen Paley and mor charpentier. Courtesy the artist. Photograph: Alex Robinson.
Lawrence Abu Hamdan, 'Once Removed', 2019. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Cockatoo Island. Originally commissioned by Sharjah Biennial 14. Presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with assistance from the Council for Australia-Arab Relations of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Maureen Paley and mor charpentier. Courtesy the artist. Photograph: Alex Robinson.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan

Reincarnated 1985 in Amman, Jordan
Lives and works in Beirut, Lebanon


"My work concerns itself with listening at the thresholds of sound and voice, and sometimes at these thresholds sound itself becomes image. Many of the sounds at play in my cases are sounds from the background – noise that seeps onto a recording, sounds that leak into phone calls, through walls, across national borders and from voices that transmigrate from the dead to the living. Sound, and by virtue a sonic imagination, is defined by its blurred borders and difficulty to be contained or isolated."

Lawrence Abu Hamdan is an artist and ‘Private Ear’. The artist’s audio investigations have been used as evidence at the UK Asylum Tribunal and in advocacy for organisations such as Amnesty International. In 2019, Abu Hamdan was joint winner of the Turner Prize for his exhibition ‘Earwitness Theatre’ and performance After Sfx.

In the installation Once Removed, the artist chronicles the testimony of a young historian, Bassel Abi Chahine. He is the reincarnation of a sixteen-year-old soldier who died in 1984, during the Lebanese Civil War. This case of rebirth provides an insight into the buried historical records and unresolved injustices, which amassed in the wake of the war. The time travelling life of Bassel Abi Chahine introduces a space to contemplate what a testimony of the returned could politically enact.

Exhibited at

Exhibited Artwork

Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Once Removed, 2019, 2-channel digital video, colour, sound, 26 mins. Originally commissioned by Sharjah Biennial 14. Presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with assistance from the Council for Australia-Arab Relations of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Maureen Paley and mor charpentier. Courtesy the artist

Photograph: Alex Robinson

Location: Cockatoo Island