Hajra Waheed

Hold Everything Dear

The Power Plant presents Hajra Waheed’s most ambitious project to date.


Hajra Waheed translates research and observation into works that explore links between security, surveillance and the covert networks of power that structure our lives, while also addressing the traumas of displaced subjects affected by legacies of colonial and state violence.

Hold Everything Dear
 takes a single form — the spiral — as a starting point to reflect on processes of upheaval in human experience. Partly inspired by a collection of essays on survival and resistance by art critic and novelist John Berger, the works act as a meditation on undefeated despair and the possibilities for radical hope.

From the miniscule to the monumental, from calm to chaos and storm to sea, Waheed brings together a constellation of new work that draws upon patterns as they manifest across natural and sociopolitical structures. Many of the works visualize modes of resisting and overcoming tides of violence and despair, often in intimate, powerful ways.

Using the ordinary as a means to denote the profound, and landscape as a medium to transpose human struggle, the works, at times punctuated by prose, constantly slip between how power relations are imposed and how they may be transcended.

The artist would like to acknowledge Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Quebec for their support of this new work.

A related exhibition of Hajra Waheed's work was on view at the Small Arms Inspection Building as a part of Toronto Biennial of Art.

Hajra Waheed
(b. 1980 in Canada) lives and works in Montréal. Waheed has had solo exhibitions at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK (2016) and KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2015); she has participated in exhibitions worldwide including VIVA ARTE VIVA, the international exhibition of the 57th Venice Biennale (2017); 11th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2016) and La Biennale de Montréal, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, QC (2014). Waheed’s works can be found in permanent collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; British Museum, London; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Centre Georges Pompidou, Musée national d’art moderne, Paris; Burger Collection, Zurich/Hong Kong; Devi Art Foundation, New Delhi; and the Art Institute of Chicago. She was shortlisted for the 2016 Sobey Art Award and received the 2014 Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award for outstanding achievement as a Canadian mid-career visual artist. 

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