© Zarina Bhimji
Zarina Bhimji makes photographs, films and installations which engage with themes such as institutional power and subjectivity. Her work grows from observation and felt sense and is rooted in a careful use of colour and light.
The exhibition spans Bhimji’s career, beginning with She Loved to Breathe – Pure Silence (1987), a photo- text installation that that explores politics, voice, beauty and love as forms of resistance. Photographs of everyday objects – jewellery, an embroidered slipper, a migratory songbird dead in a garden – are combined with sentences taken from a variety of literary sources, and suspended over a field of scattered turmeric and chilli, everyday spices in the cookery Bhimji grew up with. The images slip in and out of focus and the sentences move towards and away from narrative coherence, giving the piece an allusiveness that allows it to take a sidelong yet piercing look at ways in which people can be misunderstood and overlooked.
The film Blind Spot (2023), made for the exhibition, looks at homelessness through the details of one young girl’s situation. The girl is fictional – emblematic – and her story of family breakdown, institutional inadequacy, individual kindness and resilience is told in fragments. Like all Bhimji’s work, the film is evocative rather than descriptive or documentary. The tracking shots the camera makes through rooms; the dancing light and shadows; the warmth of the colour; the sounds of the sea and the wind; the improvising of the double bass, are all characters in the storytelling.
The exhibition continues with works including Bhimji’s first film, Out of Blue (2002), and Waiting (2007), the film Bhimji made when she was shortlisted for the Turner Prize.
Find out more by visiting our website. The exhibition is open 11am–6pm daily until 28.01.24.
45 Market St, Edinburgh EH1 1DF, UK
0131 225 2383