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Zarina Bhimji

Born, 1963 in Mbarara, Uganda

Zarina Bhimji’s work was included in the From Two Worlds exhibition at Whitechapel Art Gallery, 30 July - 7 September 1986.

From the archived Documenta 11 website: www.documenta12.de//archiv/d11/data/english/index.html

“Returning to Uganda after living in England since 1974, Zarina Bhimji’s film Out of Blue (2002) at Documenta 11 confronts the impossibility of coming to terms with “what has happened.” After having unraveled any possibility of narration Bhimji walks away from the Ugandan landscape of her childhood - its architecture, airports, graveyards, military barracks, police cells and prisons of Amin’s regime of terror. Like her earlier installations, large-format color photographs and light-boxes, Bhimji creates a web of representations that reconstructs time and space, conjuring different modes of experience, multiple systems of meaning, cultural metaphors and personal expeditions. Both real and imaginary, emotionally saturated with and complicated by their original reference, these representations are always fragments, pieces of a labyrinth of displacement.”

Tania Vanessa Guha wrote the text face to face: an interview with zarina bhimji - for Beyond Frontiers: Contemporary British Art by Artists of South Asian Descent, edited by Amal Ghosh and Juginder Lamba, Saffron Books, 2001. The book describes itself as marking “the first attempt to survey the work of contemporary British artists whose ancestral roots lie in the countries and cultures of South Asia. For some, their links with the Subcontinent remain present and immediate; for others, they are a barely perceptible trace, filtered through generations of exile and migration.”

Bhimji’s work [35mm transparency from her notebook, 1990. Two transparencies: colour and black and white,] was used to illustrate the cover of Exiles, Diasporas & Strangers, edited by Kobena Mercer. One of four books in a series titled Annotating Art’s Histories, jointly published by The MIT Press, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts and iniva the Institute of International Visual Arts, London, published in 2008.

Bhimji was one of eight artists included in the exhibition No Place (Like Home) held at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 9 - June 8 1997. The exhibition was curated by Richard Flood, Curatorial Assistant, Deepali Dewan, and Curatorial Intern, Eungie Joo. The other artists in the exhibition were Nick Deocampo, Willie Doherty, Kay Hassan, Kcho, Gary Simmons, Meyer Vaisman, and Kara Walker.

In 2007 Bhimji was shortlisted for the Turner Prize exhibition of 2007, held at Tate Liverpool, 19 October 2007 - 13 January 2008. Along with Zarina Bhimji, Nathan Coley, and Mike Nelson, Mark Wallinger was shortlisted for the Turner Prize 2007. The jury consisted of Christoph Grunenberg, Director, Tate Liverpool, and Chairman of the Jury, Michael Bracewell, Writer and Critic, Fiona Bradley, Director Fruitmarket Gallery, Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator, Studio Museum in Harlem, and Miranda Sawyer, Writer and broadcaster. The award was, in due course, made to Wallinger.

Wallinger, the eventual winner was shortlisted for “his solo exhibition State Britain at Tate Britain.”  Bhimji was shortlisted for “her solo exhibitions at Haunch of Venison, London and Zurich, with work engaging with universal human emotions such as grief, pleasure, love and betrayal using non-narrative photography and film-making. Through powerful, atmospheric and poignant imagery, Bhimji’s recent work demostrates a new approach to her long-standing preoccupations and research.” Coley was shortlisted for “his solo exhibition at Mount Stuart, Isle of Bute, the public installation Camouflage Church, Santiago de Cpompostela, Spain and his contribution to the group exhibition Breaking Step - Displacement, Compassion and Humour in Recent British Art at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, Serbia,” Nelson was shortlisted for “his solo exhibitions AMNESIAC SHRINE or double coop displacement, Matt’s Gallery, Londonand Mirror Infill (2006), Frieze Art Fair, London.”

All the above quotes come from the introduction to the Turner Prize catalogue, which also contained introductions - both written and visual - to the artists’ work.


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