For over thirty years, Zarina Bhimji’s work has staged enquiry into image, light and object, encompassing the universal, the literal and the abstract. This major survey organised by Sharjah Art Foundation presents a number of the artist’s seminal works across film, photography and installation. The exhibition features the artist’s early exploration into forms of knowledge that elude established systems of order as well as her later study of colour and space, human emotion and intuition. Each project, embarked upon after meticulous research and field trips, sees Bhimji sympathetically inhabit sites via her practice: every location is an open-air studio, cleared of locals and passersby. Growing from ambiguity and observation, her work draws on a deep—and, at times, bleak—political consciousness of specific moments.
Bhimji’s films and photographs are compositions of light, shadow, texture and sound. Her use of the camera as a subjective, painterly tool is central to this endeavour, and her film works Out of Blue (2002), Yellow Patch (2011) and Jangbar (2015) constitute a central axis of the exhibition. Unfurling across multiple views, the images ask, how can we understand ourselves at different points in time? Most importantly, how do we take up and rethink our own time—or time beyond our direct experience?
Whether in immersive single-screen film or installation, Bhimji’s work spatialises attitudes, gestures and movements. Allowing sentiment to stand on its own merit, her compositions seize the viewer and resonate between bodies in a gallery. In slow pans across lush forested landscape, lingering shots of emptied architecture, or stamps and seals on official documents, her repetition of words and textures creates a cacophony of sound and motion, shaping our moment with quiet immediacy again and again.
This exhibition is curated by Hoor Al Qasimi, Director of Sharjah Art Foundation.