Past Artist talk

Artist Walkthrough: Abed Elmajid Shalabi

Hamiltonian Artists

Join artist Abed Elmajid Shalabi for a public walkthrough of his Hamiltonian Artists debut solo exhibition.

ABOUT THE EXHIBITION:

Titled after Mahmoud Darwish’s poem A State of Siege (2002) When Tomorrow Arrives We Will Love Life will present new and recent sculptural works that confront the realities of modernization in the post-oil Arab world, leaning into the question of the future.

Shalabi’s material vernacular ranges from fragile ceramics to commercial concrete. Castings of vehicular and industrial objects like construction truck seats, gas pumps, shock-resistant rubber mats, and truck beds function as emotional provocations—interrogating the illusions of progress, safety, and direction that have been prescribed by the Western gaze. By exposing surface cracks, emptiness, and other moments of vulnerability, Shalabi pushes against the speed of modernity and the ways in which its false promises alter our connection to the body, gender, and self.

Shalabi’s abstracted, site responsive installation reflects a new exercise in experimentation. Rather than directing viewers into a predetermined notion or narrative, Shalabi situates his sculptures on the line between meaning and ambiguity—inviting the viewer to draw their own connections to the many themes that underpin his practice.

Abed Elmajid Shalabi, “Smart Hold at Armpit Level (white-and-blue version),” custom-made sign, glazed ceramic, and steel, 12.5 x 60 x 48 in. Photo: Vivian Marie Doering.

ABOUT THE ARTIST:

Abed Elmajid Shalabi (b. 1991) is a Palestinian Israeli artist who lives and works in Richmond, VA. Shalabi earned his BFA in Fine Arts from Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art, Ramat Gan, Israel, in 2019 and studied at the Universität der Künste Berlin, Berlin, Germany. He earned his MFA in Sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, in 2021 and was an artist in residence at the Skowhegan School for Painting and Sculpture, Madison, ME, in 2022.

Shalabi has been a fellow at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA (2024, 2020), and Lighthouse Works, Fishers Island, NY (2023). He has been awarded an Artis International Residency Grant (2023, 2022) and Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant (2023). Shalabi’s works have been featured in exhibitions nationally and internationally, including C24 Gallery, New York, NY; SARA’S, New York, NY; Vox Populi, Philadelphia, PA; and the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Ana, California.