Fall 2019 season launch at The Power Plant


Rashid Johnson, Untitled (Microphone Sculpture), 2018. Bronze panel, ceramic tile, mirror tile, animal skin, books, shea butter, ceramics, plant, oil stick, black soap, wax. Courtesy the artist, Hauser & Wirth and David Kordansky Gallery. Photo: Martin Parsekian.

The Power Plant concludes 2019 with four new exhibitions on view from 21 September 2019 to 5 January 2020. The Fall 2019 season presents exhibitions by artists Hajra Waheed, Vincent Meessen, Naeem Mohaiemen and Rashid Johnson.

Join us as we launch the season with a FREE Public Opening Party on Friday, 20 September 2019 from 8–11 PM.

Hajra Waheed: Hold Everything Dear

Guest Curator: Nabila Abdel Nabi

Hajra Waheed translates research and observation into works that explore the links between security, surveillance and the covert networks of power that structure our lives, while also addressing the traumas of displaced subjects affected by legacies of colonial and state violence.

Waheed’s most ambitious project to date, Hold Everything Dear takes a single form — the spiral — as a starting point to reflect on processes of upheaval in human experience. Partly inspired by a collection of essays on survival and resistance by art critic and novelist John Berger, the works act as a meditation on undefeated despair and the possibilities for radical hope.

Vincent Meessen: Blues Klair

Guest Curator: Michèle Thériault
Assistant Curator: Justine Kohleal

Blues Klair is developed around the newly commissioned immersive film installation Ultramarine, which focuses on a mesmerizing spoken word performance of the self-exiled African-American poet Gylan Kain, whose performances in the late 1960s were a primary influence on the development of rap.

In the blue layered textile structure that frames Ultramarine and multiple references throughout, the colour blue is the chromatic, historical and discursive filter through which Blues Klair is experienced. It is an alternative way to read history through colour, ultramarine referring all at once to a pigment, overseas territories, trade, colonial and slave routes.

Naeem Mohaiemen: What we found after you left

Curator: Lauren Barnes

Naeem Mohaiemen combines films, installations and essays to investigate the idea of socialist utopia during the Cold War era. Despite underlining a tendency within the left to mis-recognize potential allies, a hope for a future international left, as an alternative to current silos of race and religion, is a basis for the work. Mohaiemen’s exhibition will span two seasons at The Power Plant and feature four films in a rotating program: Tripoli Cancelled (2017); United Red Army, The Young Man Was: Part 1 (2011); Two Meetings and a Funeral (2017); and Afsan’s Long Day, The Young Man Was: Part 2 (2014). Each film is accompanied by work in photography, print or sculpture as ‘footnotes’.

Rashid Johnson: Anxious Audience

Curator: Lauren Barnes
Assistant Curator: Amin Alsaden, RBC Curatorial Fellow

For his first solo presentation in Canada, American artist Rashid Johnson has undertaken a major new site-specific work. This is the fifth iteration of the Clerestory Commission Program, which invites artists to respond to The Power Plant’s central light-filled space. Since 2015, Johnson’s output has encompassed representational works entitled Anxious Audiences. For The Power Plant, he has developed an ambitious new work in this series, enveloping visitors amongst an accumulation of portraits incised in West African black soap and wax on white tile panels. Reflecting a sense of collective unease, this crowd of faces emerges through a process of ‘drawing through erasure’ into the viscous black surfaces.


Photograph of Artist Gathering Miracle Fruit on River Walk, Alajuela Province, Costa Rica. Courtesy of Hajra Waheed.

Fall 2019 Programs and Events

Together with our Fall exhibitions, we are pleased to present numerous opportunities for visitors to engage with the works on view!

Join us as all four exhibiting artists speak about their works and take part in our In Conversation series: Rashid Johnson speaks with Eric Mack and David Moos, Hajra Waheed with Nabila Abdel Nabi and Jayne Wilkinson, Vincent Meessen with David Austin and Naeem Mohaiemen with Jaret Vadera. This Fall offers opportunities to join various communities and engage in meaningful conversation through the Arctic/Amazon symposium, co-presented with OCAD University and Wapatah Centre for Indigenous Visual Knowledge, which will work towards a globalized sense of indigeneity. Participate in Power Talks at Art Toronto featuring influential art-world figures who discuss their projects, preoccupations and ideas. Enjoy film screenings related to Vincent Meessen’s exhibition: Ninth Floor directed by Mina Shum and Right On! directed by Herbert Danska and described as the “first ‘totally’ black film”, featuring the original Last Poets, including Gylan Kain and Felipe Luciano. This season also marks our 7th edition of Student Night for our audiences looking to navigate the art world and connect with peers and arts professionals. Visit for a Sunday Scene to hear from artists, curators and non-art professionals speak about our exhibitions. Artists are also invited to participate in Master Class sessions for group critiques with two exhibiting artists, as well as in Portfolio Night to discuss their works with our curators and guest curators. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to bring children to our widely popular Power Kids programs, each of which begins with a brief tour in the galleries, followed by hands-on art making.

Support for Hold Everything Dear includes Presenting Donor: The Michael and Sonja Koerner Charitable Foundation; Arts Partner: Bureau du Québec à Toronto.

Blues Klair is organized and circulated by the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University with the support of Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.

Support for What we found after you left includes Presenting Donor: Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation; Supported by: Experimenter Gallery, Kolkata.

Support for Anxious Audience includes Presenting Donors: Alison & Jim Christodoulis; Lead Sponsor: ProWinko; Supported by: David Kordansky Gallery and Hauser & Wirth.

Admission to The Power Plant is ALL YEAR, ALL FREE, presented by BMO Bank of Montreal Financial Group.

Director: Gaëtane Verna

For images, interview requests and more info please contact: media@thepowerplant.org / T 416 973 4949


The Power Plant
231 Queens Quay West
Toronto Ontario M5J 2G8

Tuesday–Wednesday, 10AM–5PM
Thursday, 10AM–8PM
Friday-Sunday, 10AM–5PM

T +1 416 973 4949
F +1 416 973 4933

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