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Generation brings together two generations of Iraqi-Canadian artists—Sawsan AlSaraf and her daughters Tamara and Sundus Abdul Hadi—offering a dialogue that illuminates how three members of the same family respond creatively to complex themes of representation, identity, and displacement in a contemporary global world. Each artist has a unique point of view and preferred media, yet they enjoy working as collaborators to share ideas and family experiences.

This presentation explores the complexity of “minority” communities, specifically Arab communities, which are often simultaneously subjected to both stereotyping and underrepresentation. The three featured artists mine both personal and geographical territory in order to foster a sense of connection among all people, focusing on our shared humanity as the unifying force.

On view are artworks made by the artists in the past 10 years, including AlSaraf’s (Canadian, b. Iraq, 1954) Sufi Path painting series, which began out of a personal impulse to explore spirituality and her place within the world and humanity. Tamara Abdul Hadi’s (Iraqi-Canadian, b. U.A.E., 1980) photography takes her all over the globe and demonstrates her particular interest in documenting the complexity and idiosyncrasy of communities in the Arab world. The younger sister, Sundus Abdul Hadi (Iraqi-Canadian, b. U.A.E., 1984), synthesizes both her mother’s and sister’s practice in her own, with interests in photography, book arts, and sonic work.

This exhibition is organized by Telfair Museums and curated by Rachel Reese, Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.


About the artists:

Sawsan AlSaraf (Canadian, b. Iraq, 1954) lives and works in Montreal, Canada, and Amman, Jordan. AlSaraf has moved between the Middle East and North America since 1977. She holds a BFA in Studio Art from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, and an MFA in Visual Art from Vermont College of Fine Arts, USA. A visual and multimedia artist, AlSaraf draws her references from her life experiences as an expatriate Iraqi woman. Juxtaposing these references with her critical analyses of notions of home, belonging, and identity that have developed from a life in Diaspora, and that emerge from the current discourse on global displacement and mobility.

Tamara Abdul Hadi (Iraqi-Canadian, b. U.A.E., 1980) lives and works in Beirut, Lebanon. Tamara Abdul Hadi is an independent photographer, born to Iraqi parents in the UAE and raised in Montreal, Canada. Abdul Hadi’s work explores the complexity and idiosyncrasy of minority communities that are often subjected to stereotyping and underrepresentation interchangeably. Her work also touches on ideas of masculinity, self-representation, and social justice. Abdul Hadi is a founding member of RAWIYA Collective, a photography co-operative of female photographers in the Middle East.

Sundus Abdul Hadi (Iraqi-Canadian, b. U.A.E., 1984) Lives and works in Montreal, Canada. Sundus Abdul Hadi is an Iraqi-Canadian multimedia artist. She was born in the UAE, raised and educated in Montreal, where she holds a BFA in Studio Arts and Art History and is currently completing a Masters in Media Studies from Concordia University. Her work is a subversive and sensitive documentation of current crises in the Middle East, often using manipulated photographic imagery, mixed-media painting, artist books and sound. Alongside her studio practice, Abdul Hadi also curates exhibitions, and hosts “The Groundbreakers”, a radio show about art and culture on CKUT 90.3 FM in Montreal.

Generation Opening Panel Discussion and Reception
Thursday, May 25, 6pm
Jepson Center
Members free / non-members $5.

Click here to reserve your tickets  »
Telfair presents a discussion moderated by Rachel Reese, Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, featuring Sawsan AlSaraf, Tamara Abdul Hadi, and Sundus Abdul Hadi. Reception to follow.


Sundus Abdul Hadi
Excerpted pages from Souls Land Closing, 2010
Unique artist book, canvas, acrylic, photography
14×14 inches
Courtesy and copyright the artist

Tamara Abdul Hadi
from her Flying Boys series, 2008-2015
Digital photography, dimensions variable
Courtesy and copyright the artists

Sawsan AlSaraf
Weightlessness 2, 2012
Digital photograph installation, 78×35 inches
Courtesy and copyright the artists


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