Artist Talk

Solidarity Must Be Defended: Eszter Szakács + Naeem Mohaiemen

The Power Plant has postponed all programming until further notice in view of the COVID-19 public health emergency. For updates, please continue to refer to Toronto Public Health.

This program, part of the Urban Field Speakers Series, is co-presented by Prefix ICA and The Power Plant.


Eszter Szakács and Naeem Mohaiemen edited the anthology Solidarity Must Be Defended, a trifold publication that brings together essays and projects on misalignments within the visual arts arc(s) of transnational solidarity during the Cold War. The book looks at both grand initiatives and tragic misfires from an entangled, decolonizing world.

The point of departure for this anthology is a special issue of Mezosfera magazine (“Refractions of Socialist Solidarity”) edited in Budapest, Hungary by Szakács in connection with Mohaiemen’s film Two Meetings and a Funeral. The anthology’s trifold lightly reflects that film’s three-channel form. Its title is a play on a volume of Michel Foucault’s lectures at Collège de France (Society Must Be Defended, 1976) and refers to Foucault’s catastrophic misreading of the Iranian Revolution of 1979. The anthology proposes that transnational solidarity is always worth celebrating, but also, always, extremely difficult to inhabit.