Hajra Waheed, <em>Hum</em>, 2020. Multi-channel sound installation with custom speaker casings, 36 minutes, 17 seconds. Installation view, Portikus, Frankfurt, Germany (July 11–September 6, 2020). Courtesy the artist. Photo courtesy Diana Pfammatter.
Hajra Waheed, Hum, 2020. Multi-channel sound installation with custom speaker casings, 36 minutes, 17 seconds. Installation view, Portikus, Frankfurt, Germany (July 11–September 6, 2020). Courtesy the artist. Photo courtesy Diana Pfammatter.

Hajra Waheed

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 is organized for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis by Wassan Al-Khudhairi, Ferring Family Foundation Chief Curator, with Misa Jeffereis, Associate Curator.

Hajra Waheed (b. 1980) is a multidisciplinary artist whose recent and upcoming international exhibitions include Sharjah Biennial 15, UAE (2023); State of Concept, Athens (2023); Kamel Lazaar Foundation–B7L9, Tunis (2023); Relations: Diaspora and Painting, PHI Foundation, Montreal (2021); Hum, Portikus, Frankfurt (2020); Globale Resistance, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2020); Lahore Biennial 02, Pakistan (2020); Pushing Paper: Contemporary Drawing from 1970 to Now, British Museum, London (2019); Hold Everything Dear, The Power Plant, Toronto (2019); 57th Venice Biennale, VIVA ARTE VIVA, Venice (2017); 11th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2016); The Cyphers, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK (2016); Still Against the Sky, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2015); La Biennale de Montréal, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Quebec (2014); Lines of Control, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Ithaca, NY (2012); and (In) The First Circle, Antoni Tàpies Foundation, Barcelona, ES (2012). She is the recipient of the Hnatyshyn Foundation Award (2022) and the Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award (2014) for outstanding achievement as a mid-career artist and a finalist for the Sobey Art Award (2016). She currently lives and works in Montreal.

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