Crossing Boundaries to Make Objects Speak, Hollow Forms by Dima Srouji

Dima Srouji
Photography by Mothanna Hussein
Text by Farah Abdel Jawad

Born in Nazareth and raised in both Jerusalem and Doha, designer and architect Dima Srouji started her collection of contemporary expressive glass figures entitled “Hollow Forms”.

Dima Srouji earned a Master of Architecture degree from Yale University and a Bachelor of Architecture from Kingston University in London. Being away from her homeland and being constantly on the move between London, New Haven, and Milan infused Srouji with a different charisma to take what she has experienced back to Palestine to revive the traditional craft of glassblowing.

Through her experimental work at Yale University under the supervision of Peter Eisenman and Greg Lynn, Srouji found herself trying to translate her beliefs regarding objects not being just blank hollow shells but rather be of an inherent power that can draw people in and alter perceptions.

Dima Srouji experimented with contemporary forms using computer software and 3D printing techniques to translate those beliefs and ideas but was restricted by how sterile and scientific the end results turned out to be as if the objects were left silent.

Upon returning back to Ramallah and being exposed to the beauty of the villages in rural Palestine for the first time Srouji got inspired differently.

Dima Srouji coincidentally met two glassblowers, Marwan and Ali, in their tiny workshop on the roof of their home in Jaba’ village and have marked since then the start of her collection that hosted objects that were finally speaking to the people and expressing the fragility of both the political situation in the region and the fragility of the material that she was wanted to shed light on.

Click here for the Abwab Pavilion where the Hollow Forms were exhibited in 2017

The aim of her pieces titled Hollow Forms is to cross boundaries, looking back to move forward, to produce objects that resonate a sense of place while maintaining the ability to act on a regional and global level. By creating the Hollow Forms Project, Srouji yearned to celebrate the spirit of landscapes and traditions which are naturally embedded into a designer’s psyche and use that energy to reactivate a dying industry. Therefore, as Srouji commented, the power of strange forms seemed to have been used to revive a traditional rich craft that has been thriving for centuries in Palestine.

After participating in Amman Design Week, supported by her majesty Queen Rania, Dima Srouji’s Hollow Forms were picked up again for a second display at the Dubai Design Week the next month. Now, Dima Srouji is releasing a new collection of Hollow Forms that have a sense of utopia that emanates from the forms that reflect her perception of the spirit of Palestine represented in glass.

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