A series of small ceramics and pottery arranged neatly in rows on a 6-stepped white platform. A series of small ceramics and pottery arranged neatly in rows on a 6-stepped white platform.

Sameer Farooq: The Fairest Order in the World

The Fairest Order in the World is an exhibition of works by Cape Breton born, Toronto based interdisciplinary artist Sameer Farooq curated by Mona Filip. The exhibition presents a poetic and thought-provoking exploration of museums’ colonial histories through a mixed media installation that probes notions of provenance, repatriation, and repair.

In The Fairest Order in the World, Farooq arranges a series of new and recent sculptures and images to articulate unique ideas for repurposing the emptied spaces of museums devoid of their spoils. The works prompt reflection on the fraught and violent histories that have prevailed in these institutions over time and suggest what they might become through the mechanics of restitution, what they may shift to collect and document, and what kind of experiences they could nurture.

The exhibition takes its title from a text fragment of Ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus: “The fairest order in the world is a heap of random sweepings.” Considering the idea that the most organized and just attempt at a universal order is equally as flawed or filled with balance and beauty as an arbitrary pile of refuse, Farooq’s meticulously choreographed assembly invites us to interrogate our relationship with art objects and museum displays, as well as the ordering narratives they uphold.

Organized by Dalhousie Art Gallery.

Image credit: Sameer Farooq, If it were possible to collect all navels of the world on the steps to ASCENSION, 2019. Installation view at Dalhousie Art Gallery, 2023. Photo by Steve Farmer.

Sameer Farooq is a Canadian artist of Pakistani and Ugandan Indian descent, born in Cape Breton and based in Toronto. Farooq has held exhibitions at institutions around the world including The Venice Biennale of Architecture (2023), Fonderie Darling, Montréal (2022); Susan Hobbs, Toronto (2022); Koffler Gallery, Toronto (2021); Patel Brown, Toronto (2021); Lilley Museum, Reno (2019); Aga Khan Museum, Toronto (2017); Institute of Islamic Culture, Paris (2017); Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (2016); The British Library, London (2015); Maquis Projects, Izmir (2015); Artellewa, Cairo (2014); and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2011). Reviews dedicated to his work have been published by Art Forum, Canadian Art, The Washington Post, BBC Culture, Hyperallergic, Artnet, The Huffington Post, and C Magazine. He is an alumnus of the prestigious Bemis Center Residency.

Mona Filip is a contemporary art curator and writer based in Toronto. Originally from Romania, she received her BFA from the Corcoran School of Art, Washington DC, and her MFA from SUNY at Buffalo. With an idea-driven and dialogue-focused approach, Filip collaborates with artists to produce experiential installations that engage the public on sensorial, emotional and intellectual levels. Filip’s curatorial experience spans over forty exhibitions and site-specific projects, collaborations with guest curators, and a broad range of public programs.

Coloured Dalhousie Art Gallery Logo Coloured Arts Nova Scotia logo  Canada Council for the Arts logo   City of Halifax coloured logo

Curated by: Mona Filip

October 1, 2024 - December 20, 2024

Link to Exhibitions Archive for a complete list of past exhibitions


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To promote and stimulate learning, interest and continued enjoyment about the visual arts, the Museum will organize an annual programme of temporary exhibitions for presentation year round.

Exhibition proposals/submissions are accepted on an on-going basis.

The Director/Curator will select and establish the annual exhibition programme in collaboration with the curatorial team. An exhibition schedule will be presented by the Director/Curator to the Advisory Board of the Museum once each year


Proposals are accepted from artists and curators.


10-20 digital images, project description, and CV.

View digital image requirements


Betty Julian, Adjunct Senior Curator
McMaster Museum of Art, McMaster University
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4L6


The McMaster Museum of Art is a third party recommender for Ontario Arts Council (OAC) Exhibition Assistance Grants.

The 2024-2025 Exhibition Assistance Program is now open until January 2025. Our deadlines for the programming year are:

  • September 16th, 1 p.m. ET
  • December 16th, 1 p.m. ET

Artists who demonstrate an interest and consideration of art as a medium for social change and action.

Please follow the guidelines established by the Ontario Arts Council, apply directly through their website, and submit the following with your applications:

Brief artist statement
Confirmation letter from the gallery/museum/venue
Digital images of work