© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

Hatoum, a Palestinian born in Beirut, uses everyday objects and personal artifacts to examine the effects of exile and alienation. For this work she collected strands of her own hair and painstakingly formed them into delicate round beads, threading them and placing them on an exquisitely carved wooden display bust. Inserted into the aestheticized space of a gallery, the hair beads — elegant and repulsive — address the disparities between the private and the public body. Hatoum grounds her work in the materiality of the body to convey a sense of the dislocation resulting from forced immigration. Born to exiled parents, she experienced disequilibrium a second time, in 1975, when the civil war in Lebanon compelled her to remain in England. With works such as Hair Necklace, Hatoum uses the most personal of materials — shed from her own body — to evoke the fragments of self one reclaims and values during such experiences of exile.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Mona Hatoum, Palestinian (Beirut, Lebanon born 1952)
Hair Necklace
Work Type
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Human hair and wooden bust
bust: 28.6 x 21 x 17.8 cm (11 1/4 x 8 1/4 x 7 in.)
necklace: 19 cm (7 1/2 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: On bottom of bust, in graphite: 2/3
Mona Hatoum, created 2013; [Alexander and Bonin, New York], sold; to the Harvard Art Museums, 2013.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Mr. G. David Thompson, in memory of his son, G. David Thompson, Jr., Class of 1958, by exchange
© Mona Hatoum
Accession Year
Object Number
Modern and Contemporary Art
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Publication History

Hair Necklace, Very Vary Veri, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA, 2017), No. 3, p. 31, ill. (b/w)

Exhibition History

32Q: 1120 Contemporary Art, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 08/10/2017

32Q: 3620 University Study Gallery, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 08/31/2019 - 01/08/2020

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art at am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu