Hajra Waheed
KH-21, 2014
Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal
22.10.14 – 04.01.15

Hajra Waheed’s work seeks to address personal, national and cultural identity formation in relation to political history, popular imagination and the impact of colonial power globally. An interest in the codes and operations of security, surveillance, profiling and wartime dehumanization runs through much of her work. Waheed develops narratives around a number of single fictional characters in ongoing bodies of work that constitute a growing personal archive. The mixed-media installation KH-21 grew out of her earlier Architectural Studies, a series of drawings in which cutout details of spy planes accompany floor plans of historical mosques. Bringing together works on paper and a sound sculpture, KH-21 makes reference to the recently declassified HEXAGON Program of the United States’ National Reconnaissance Office, which launched twenty highly classified intelligence-gathering satellites between 1971 and 1986.

Moving through the installation, viewers may piece together a story about an estranged ex-flight engineer who has dragged something in, an object dropped from the sky. In Waheed’s spatial narrative, fact and fiction are hardly distinguishable, calling the imagination into play. And thus, while grounded in historical fact, the installation calls for an examination of ways in which the past and the future collide.

Fear Brings About, 1-5, 2010, collage, pencil, ink and paint on drafting paper, 27.9 x 43 cm each (courtesy of the artist and Experimenter, Kolkata)
Fear Brings About, 4-5, 2010, collage, pencil, ink and paint on drafting paper, 27.9 x 43 cm each (courtesy of the artist and Experimenter, Kolkata)

Born in 1980 in Calgary, Hajra Waheed lives in Montréal. She has participated in numerous exhibitions including In the First Circle, Antoni Tàpies Foundation, Barcelona (2012); Lines of Control, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (2012); Sea Change, Experimenter, Kolkata, India (2013); and Collages: Gesture and Fragments, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (2014). Her work can be found in a number of permanent collections, including those of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; British Museum, London; John Jones, London; and Devi Art Foundation, New Delhi, India. Waheed is the recipient of the prestigious 2014 Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award for outstanding achievement as a Canadian mid-career visual artist.

Hajra Waheed is represented by Experimenter, Kolkata, India.


30.10.2014 Visit
Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal

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