On Sunday, 28-year-old Lebanese artist Rima Najdi took to the streets of Beirut with a fake cache of TNT strapped to her body in a public performance dubbed, The TNT Project.

Najdi, also referred to as "Madame Bomba," tells Beirut.com the performance was a statement against the normalization of recent bombings in Lebanon, the first on December 27 in downtown Beirut, and the second on January 2 in Dahiyeh.

The artist said she also wanted to interact with people and hear what they had to say when confronted with a walking bomb. "Spectators reactions varied between shocked, amused, having fun, being afraid, happy, aware, to even sometimes indifferent," said Najdi, adding,"Someone told me, 'Hayde l mouda Hala'a' (this is the trend now)," another person said, "you're giving ideas to the terrorists," and another spectator commented, "I wish all suicide bombers were like you, then I would've wished to die."


(Photo via Facebook)

Najdi majored in dramatic arts at the Lebanese University in Beirut and earned a master's degree in Performance Studies from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She is currently based in Germany and was home for the holidays when the bombs went off. Her work is often multi-disciplinary and interactive and has been exhibited in venues such as the Brecht Theater and New York University, among others.

This performance wasn't her first in Lebanon, the artist previously collaborated with Maria Kassab and Liliane Chlela in a one-on one performance called "Passage," but Madame Bomba's TNT Project has been the most attention-grabbing so far.

Security officers at both the Beirut Souks mall and Zaitunay Bay would not allow her on the property wearing the fake suicide vest, and Najdi says she wouldn't have even been able to pull off the performance elsewhere, saying "this is something that was costumed and specific to Lebanon, and if I would have considered a similar performance in the US, for example, they would've confiscated my fake TNT the minute I walked onto the street."

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