In collaboration with Whitechapel Gallery, London, the Kunstmuseum Bern
is presenting the first retrospective on Zarina Bhimji, British
photographer, filmmaker, and installation artist. Voicing criticism of her
times with a gentle lyricism, Bhimji promotes confrontation with the
difficult social issues of migration, globalization, and post-colonial
history in her work.
In 1963 the artist was born to Indian
parents in Uganda, where she grew up until the family was forced into exile
in 1974. She studied art in London and has exhibited in diverse
international group shows. In 2007 she was nominated for the Turner
Based on historical research, Bhimji's films and
photographs are poetic investigations of the postcolonial past. On account
of her own experiences in life, the artist weaves fictive events into the
post-colonial history related to the countries of her origins and, using
this material, constructs fragmentary narratives. In this way she discloses
a personal view of the post-colonial history of three continents (Europe,
Africa, Asia) and palpably gives voice to the complexity of cultural,
ethnic, and political associations.
Besides photographs and
installation works (among others, loans from the Victoria & Albert
Museum in London), Bhimji's two films Out Of Blue (2002)
and—produced especially for the exhibition—Yellow Patch
(2011) will be presented in Switzerland for the very first time.
The exhibition and accompanying publication concentrate on a very fecund
approach in international contemporary art and, with its thematic focus,
give us the opportunity to comprehend historical transformations in a
global context. The show portrays an artist who gently criticizes the times
she lives in while promoting social confrontation with the difficult issues
of migration, globalization, and post-colonial history in a poetic way.
With her lyrical re-interpretation of history, Zarina Bhimji throws light
on Europe's involvement in global events and points out the complicated
histories of people who live among us.
Curated by Kathleen
A previous iteration of the exhibition was shown at
Whitechapel Gallery, London (19 January–9 March 2012).
Zarina Bhimji, Yellow Patch (Gelber
Fleck), 2011. Film projection, 35mm film, color, sound,
minutes. Courtesy the artist. © 2012, ProLitteris,