In 2016, Ahmad Hammoud’s artwork “Passport for the Stateless”(2016) was shipped from an exhibition in Dubai back to the artist’s studio in Cairo. But before it was allowed back into the country, suspicious Egyptian customs officials defaced the work with deep lines of red ballpoint pen over the booklet’s and attempted to tear it in half. The customs officials did not heed to the fact that the artwork is not a real or valid travel document.
Occupational Hazards is an exhibition dedicated to artworks that have been lost, damaged or destroyed when shipped throughout the Middle East. The project addresses how and why artworks become subject to overzealous vetting systems — whether by deliberate force or through passive negligence — and in some cases, how artists are able to reclaim agency despite these circumstances.