A series of staged images, Hajjar’s Illuminations self portraits utilize the archive as a framing device to think through intergenerational inheritance, personal histories, pleasure, loss, love, and the formation of identity through visual representation. Hajjar uses her own body to perform notions of domesticity and queer femininity. Objects of cultural intimacy to both Hajjar and her collaborator Nawal Asagher—who photographed the original images they created together—are projected onto Hajjar’s body. The projection of roses, rose water, and jewelry pieces cloaks Hajjar like a blanket as she lies her body on the bed. The blend of body and object, still life and performance, creates the sense of lived experience as both a first generation Canadian and a part of the Lebanese diaspora.

Part of In Keeping with Myself online exhibition curated by Darren Pottie at the Portrait Gallery of Canada, August 19, 2021 to February 18, 2022.