Hajra Waheed

Hum, 2020
Multi-channel sound installation, new commission

Designed to be experienced while moving between the columns of Diwaan- i-Aam in Lahore Fort, Hum, is a large scale multichannel musical composition and installation that employs humming as a means to explore collective experience. Built by Shah Jahan in 1628 and styled after Chehel Sotoun (Isfahan, Iran), a forty-pillar public audience hall, the Diwaan-i-Aam was initially conceived as a space to receive members of the general public to hear their grievances.
Hum features eight songs of resistance from South, Central, West Asia and Africa. Shared across each of these hummed verses, are histories of struggle against state oppression, the rise of authoritarianism and the attestation to the plight and hope of working people, the marginalized and dispossessed. All of these songs are being resurrected in social movements today.
Underscoring our rights to freedom of expression, Hum simultaneously cuts across a crisis of hardened differences by challenging border constructions and for a moment, transforming divisions around ethnic, religious, linguistic and national affiliations into a larger call for solidarity. In doing so, the composition forges an imagining of a future shared in spirit and collective agency.

Text courtesy the artist
Commissioned by Lahore Biennale Foundation