Mona Hatoum (born 1952 in Beirut, Lebanon) is a Palestinian visual artist known for her work with sculpture, installation, and videography. Hatoum’s artwork addresses the themes of gender, subversion, defamiliarization, exile, global inequity, and the relationship between politics and the individual.
Hatoum attended the Beirut University College for two years where she studied graphic design. In 1975, while Hatoum was visiting London, the Lebanese Civil War broke out and Hatoum was unable to return to her home and family in Beirut, effectively being forced into exile. She remained in London, where she went on to study at both the Byam Shaw School of Art and the Slade School of Fine Art.
Of her most notable works is Measures of Distance, 1988, in which Hatoum explores family, displacement, and female sexuality. In this video, photographs of Hatoum’s mother showering are overlaid with handwritten letters in Arabic that she wrote to Hatoum from Beirut during the civil war. Hatoum reads the letters aloud in both English and Arabic. This piece, like many of Hatoum’s works, are centered in the subjective challenges of navigating relationships and identity in a time of political conflict.
Hatoum lives and works in London.