Mohamad Abdouni photographs queer beirut lebanon
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April 20, 2022
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Writing queer Lebanese history through Mohamad Abdouni’s camera

Photographer, filmmaker, and creator of the magazine Cold Cuts, Mohamad Abdouni is a Lebanese transdisciplinary artist of many talents. With his glamourous yet raw shots, he documents the Beirut LGBTQI+ scene, capturing its stories before they escape our memories.

Born in 1989 in Beirut, Lebanon, Mohamad Abdouni grew up in Tarik Jdidé, a Sunni neighborhood of the capital. Despite coming from a relatively poor family, he managed to study at the prestigious Collège Notre-Dame de Jamhour in Baabda. While in university to study fine arts and communication, Mohamad Abdouni bought a 35mm camera and started collecting shots of his friends, capturing some of their moments together as a way to not forget.

Now based in Beirut and Istanbul, which he joined after the 2019 revolution, Mohamad Abdouni is a successful photographer exhibited at the Foam Gallery in Amsterdam, the Institue of Islamic Cultures in Paris, and the Brooklyn Museum in New York. He has been working as a commercial photographer for brands like Gucci, Burberry, and Puma while never stopping his personal projects.

In March 2017, Mohamad Abdouni started Cold Cuts. Cold Cuts is a magazine documenting queer culture in the South West Asian/ North African region. Coming together without a clear theme, it progressively oriented on the gay community which he had been taking pictures of for years now. Published in the three languages of the capital, Arabic, French, and English, the magazine is a cultural and artistic gold mine.

Mohamad Abdouni’s work has been mostly motivated by frustration: the frustration coming from the lack of resources for queer Arabs. His work with Cold Cuts is a means to create those resources, to record the lives and stories of queer individuals of the SWANA region before it is too late. One of his last projects embodies this objective: Treat Me Like Your Mother: Neglected Trans* Histories from Beirut’s Forgotten Past is a collection of the stories of eleven trans* women living in Beirut.

This upcoming special edition of Cold Cuts compiles photographs by Mohamad Abdouni, interviews, and personal archival images. The women are all in their late thirties to late fifties, with long stories to share. Through wars and crises, they narrate their lives and one by one, participate in the construction of queer Lebanese history.


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