February 28, 2016 - BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art - Hajra Waheed: The Cyphers
February 28, 2016

BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

Hajra Waheed, KH-21 Notes 17/32, 2014. Courtesy of the artist.

Hajra Waheed
The Cyphers
January 29–May 30, 2016

BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art
S Shore Rd
Gateshead Quays
Gateshead NE8 3BA
United Kingdom

www.balticmill.com

Hajra Waheed
The Cyphers
January 29–May 30, 2016

BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art
S Shore Rd
Gateshead Quays
Gateshead NE8 3BA
United Kingdom

www.balticmill.com

BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead presents the largest exhibition to date from Hajra Waheed from January 29 until May 30.

The Cyphers is Waheed's first solo exhibition in a UK institution and expands upon Still Against the Sky, a recent presentation at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin. The exhibition continues Waheed's ongoing research into current aerial occupations, highlighting the ever-increasing militarisation of the sky where the circulation of military drones and surveillance technology extends over everyday life, often with lethal consequences. Against this backdrop of borderless spatial power games, Waheed's drawings, collages, videos and photo-based works emerge in the form of archives, fragments and field notes. The collected materials are used to construct new stories about marginalised histories. 
 
Born in Canada and raised within the gated community of Saudi ARAMCO in Saudi Arabia, home to a quarter of the world's oil exports, Waheed grew up under strict regulations including the prohibition of photographic and video documentation by civilians. In conditions of secrecy and isolation, Waheed developed a childhood obsession with identifying aircraft, tracking flight routes and keeping logs of her observations in her own secret visual language. Through news accounts and extensive research, Waheed develops narratives and follows characters in ongoing bodies of work that constitute a growing personal archive.
 
The mixed media installation KH-21 (2014) follows on from Waheed's earlier "Architectural Studies" (2011)—a series of drawings in which cut-out details of spy planes accompany floor plans of historical mosques—and continues through the new work Article 000 (2016). Bringing together a sound sculpture and a number of works on paper, KH-21 makes reference to the recently declassified HEXAGON Program of the United States' National Reconnaissance Office which launched 20 highly classified intelligence gathering satellites between 1971–86. Collected data gains new relevance as Waheed's works navigate across geographic and geopolitical distance, personal history and collective memory. Underpinning her practice is an interest in the codes and operations of security, surveillance, profiling, and wartime de-humanisation.
 
The Cyphers brings together 18 new works on paper, a collection of ongoing video works, a composition of found objects and The Scrapbook Project 1/3 (2010–11).

The artist wishes to acknowledge the support of Canada Council for the Arts.

In conversation: Nada Raza and Alessandro Vincentelli
Wednesday, April 13, 19h 
Book online: www.balticmill.com
Nada Raza, Assistant Curator at Tate Modern, joins BALTIC Curator of Exhibitions and Research, Alessandro Vincentelli, to discuss The Cyphers, drawing from Raza's research and knowledge of contemporary artists from the Middle East and South Asia. 

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The Cyphers
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