Hajra Waheed

A Solo Exhibition

CAM presents Montreal-based artist Hajra Waheed’s first major museum solo exhibition in the US. Waheed’s multidisciplinary practice explores the legacies of colonial and state violence with a uniquely poetic approach and engagement with the world. Weaving between the intimate and infinite constellations of the communities of which she is a part, her works—while rooted in the historical—imagine new possibilities towards a radically collective and borderless future. 

Featuring recent and newly commissioned bodies of work including video, painting, and works on paper, the exhibition activates CAM’s main galleries and centers on a new iteration of Hum (2020)—the artist’s seminal multi-channel musical composition and sound installation.

Hum, whose title translates to “We” in Urdu, was initially created upon invitation for Lahore Biennial 02 in Pakistan. The work reflects on international solidarity movements that emerged in the second half of the 20th century during processes of decolonization in the Global South. Driven by the need to critically engage these histories and their implications for our time, the composition features eight hummed songs of resistance from South, Central, and West Asia, as well as Africa. Shared across each of these hummed verses are stories of struggle against state oppression, the rise of authoritarianism, and the plight and hope of working people, the marginalized, and the dispossessed. All of these songs are being resurrected in social movements today.

Hajra Waheed: A Solo Exhibition is organized for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis by Wassan Al-Khudhairi, former Ferring Foundation Chief Curator, with Misa Jeffereis, Associate Curator.

Hajra Waheed’s (b. 1980) multidisciplinary practice ranges from painting and drawing to video, sound, sculpture, and installation. Amongst other issues, she explores the nexus between security, surveillance, and the covert networks of power that structure lives, while also addressing the traumas and alienation of displaced subjects affected by legacies of colonial and state violence. Characterized by a distinct visual language and unique poetic approach, her works often use the ordinary as a means to convey the profound, and landscape as a medium to transpose human struggle and a radical politics of resistance and resilience.

Recent exhibitions worldwide include: Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2023); Sharjah Biennial 15, Sharjah (2023); Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Missouri (2023); State of Concept, Athens (2023); PHI Foundation, Montreal (2021); Portikus, Frankfurt (2020); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2020); Lahore Biennial 02, Pakistan (2020); British Museum, London (2019); The Power Plant, Toronto (2019); 57th Venice Biennale, Venice (2017); 11th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2016); BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK (2016); KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2015); La Biennale de Montréal, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Quebec (2014); Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Ithaca, NY (2012) and Antoni Tapies Foundation, Barcelona, ES (2012).

She was recipient of the Sharjah Biennial 15 Prize (2023), Hnatyshyn Foundation Award (2022), Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award (2014) for outstanding achievement as a mid-career artist, and a finalist for the Sobey Art Award (2016). Waheed’s works can be found in permanent collections, including: MOMA, New York; British Museum, London; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Art Institute of Chicago; Burger Collection, Zurich/Hong Kong and Devi Art Foundation, New Delhi.


Audio Guide