Interrupt This Program

This Palestinian artist's candy creations 'defetishize' the house keys refugees took with them

Ramallah visual artist Majd Abdel Hamid is making edible candy art to grapple with and remove the power from a potent symbol he thinks represents stasis.

'They thought that they were coming back in a few days'

Ramallah visual artist Majd Abdel Hamid is making colourful — and edible — candy art to grapple with and remove the power from a potent symbol he thinks represents stasis. 

We need to not cling on to symbols that we created. Why are we creating new gods? We're already struggling with the ones we have.- Majd Abdel Hamid, artist

When Palestinian refugees left their homes for Lebanon or Jordan, Majd says they took their house keys with them thinking "they were coming back in a few days." Since then, the keys have become a symbol of the refugees, with one giant metallic key from Bethlehem even travelling to the Berlin Biennale. The Bethlehem key is intended to be a "manifestation of nonviolent expression and a means of overcoming victim portrayals."

This giant metal key in Bethlehem represents the keys Palestinian refugees taken with them and symbolizes their struggle. (Interrupt This Program)

Majd, whose work deals with national identity, trauma and time, disagrees with the key symbol's veneration. He thinks that the "hyper-fetishization" of the keys has become a "symbol of waiting" that Palestinians shouldn't "cling to."

Because of these symbols that are becoming more and more dead, people are losing interest in any kind of collective dialogue. You're just... waiting.- Majd Abdel Hamid, artist
Ramallah visual artist Majd Abdel Hamid (Interrupt This Program)

"They key is the symbol of the waiting. I wanted to defetishize symbols and especially the key."- Majd Abdel Hamid, artist

Art as political protest, as a means of survival, as an agent of change, as a display of courage and delight. Interrupt This Program explores art in cities under pressure. 

Season 2 begins in Moscow on Feb. 5 at 9pm (9:30pm NT) and you can see more from Jerusalem on Feb. 19.

Watch Season 1 now streaming online with episodes from Beirut, Kiev, Port-au-Prince, Medellín and Athens.

Video edited by Benoit Salin.


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