March 19 to April 17, 2021

PLATFORM Centre for Photographic + Digital Arts

Solo exhibition awarded through the 2020 PLATFORM Photography Award

Photos by Tayler Buss

Don’t Forget to Count Your Blessings is an installation inspired by hookah lounges, which incorporates photography, film, and wallpaper. It complicates an Arab diasporic experience by unpacking quotidian objects and language through methods of repetition, recontextualization, and glitch. The photographs in this work signal to the ways in which hookah lounges and restaurants often feature romantic landscape images of homeland. Since Hajjar has never been to Lebanon, the photographs only feature a figure—the artist’s sister—among a backdrop of blue sky, performing improvisational gestures with a plastic tablecloth. The TV in the exhibition remediates the spectacle of lavish culture often represented through music videos emanating from restaurant TVs, and engages the tablecloth once again to evoke questions on luxury, ritual, and translatability. Together, these elements work to ground diasporic longing and nourishment through mimetic gestures, which are at once solid and fleeting.

Hajjar thanks PLATFORM, Canada Council for the Arts, and Manitoba Arts Council for their generous support of this exhibition.

Review by Abedar Kamgari: “By involving her mother and sister in the creation of her work, Hajjar contributes to a growing diasporic methodology to rely on one’s immediate family to help fill knowledge gaps caused by forced or coerced migration. This aspect of the work not only reveals an intimate diasporic corporeality experienced adjacently amongst family, but also patterns of assimilation and hybridization they all navigate.” Read more.

Poetic response by Banah el Ghadbanah: “And so what remained? A plastic tablecloth. A misprinted memory. A shisha hiccup inside my lungs. The grief still lives there like an unborn creature. I wanted waterfalls and open sky and I found a cornerstore with no olive oil. It was okay though. I looked inside myself at the end and recognised some kind of being was there. I climbed out of my body and into the stars, rested on the moon for a few moments before returning back into the depths of the sea.” Read more.