Meet Abdallah Hatoum

Abdallah Hatoum is a visual artist and a maker of objects and murals artefacts. With an academic background in graphic design, he has always been fascinated by applied arts and hand-crafted items. Culturally rooted in the Mediterranean, his work channels the Arab World's cultural history represented in countless of ways within his universe. We are delighted to share a little bit more about him this week as we have been fans of his for many years now.

"each piece I have created belongs to a certain time of my life and has been driven by a precise visual and conceptual interest that is different every time. Every one of my pieces are all triggered by an equally strong desire to create them."

What inspires you?

I have two visual orientations in my work that happen to overlap sometimes, one line revisits themes around Islamic Arts and Crafts and another is a more personal, independent exploration of aesthetic interests, often enclosed in a desire to visually retain certain observations from my travels, readings, music I listen to, or what I see or feel as I am walking in the streets of heavily layered cities, like Beirut or Cairo.

How did you first start creating artisanal pieces for Orient 499?

I have been displaying my work within Orient 499 Gallery in Beirut since 2006 while I was still studying in university. I had found in Orient 499 a sensibility to aesthetics that I strongly identified with, as well as a very inspiring sense of freedom for being able to have a playground that resonated with my desire for creation, which started at the time with hand embroideries and drawings on fabric. This would later develop through the years into designing theme based collections of murals and objects, while continuously collaborating with artisans and exploring mediums.

What was the first piece you did for Orient 499?

The first pieces I ever made for Orient 499 were a collection of hand drawn illustrations on leftover pieces of fabric that were given to me in Orient 499's atelier. I embroidered the fabrics with threads and beads which were then sold as cushions. They were my first contribution to the gallery in terms of products and that was more than 15 years ago.

What are your upcoming projects?

I prefer not to talk about upcoming projects, but let's say there is an exploration with the art of Muqarnas, as well as a take on a visual representation of a very famous building in Beirut that is supposedly very useful but is actually very useless at the same time. 

Can you guess what it is?

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