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First major UK survey of British artist Zarina Bhimji at the Whitechapel Gallery
Zarina Bhimji, Yellow Patch, 2011. 35mm colour film and transfer to DVD. Courtesy the artist and DACS, London.

LONDON.- The Whitechapel Gallery presents the first major UK survey of British photographer, film-maker and installation artist Zarina Bhimji.

The exhibition traces the development of her work over the last 25 years and premieres her new film, Yellow Patch (2011), inspired by trade and immigration routes across the Indian Ocean between India and Africa.

Bhimji, who was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2007, creates poetic photographs and films which capture human traces in empty landscapes and buildings, often focusing on places haunted by their histories. The Whitechapel Gallery exhibition features her debut film Out of Blue (2002) alongside previously unseen photographic series and storyboards, and early installations from the 1980s.

The exhibition opens with the film Yellow Patch (2011), shot on location in India. An exploration of space with a characteristically evocative use of sound, the film focuses on distinct details of the landscape and architecture. It is simultaneously premiered at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, and The New Art Gallery, Walsall. The Whitechapel Gallery presentation displays for the first time storyboards relating to Bhimji’s in depth research process for Yellow Patch.

The film Out of Blue (2002) opens with a panning shot of the beautiful countryside of Uganda, but this is soon disturbed by a soundtrack of fire, birds and human voices.

Shown alongside these films are works developed early in the artist’s career. These include the multimedia installation, She Loved to Breathe - Pure Silence (1987), which is an investigation of immigration protocol in Britain during the 1970s, and a set of giant polaroids shot in the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Gamble Room from 1989. Previously unseen sketches and development work for the films, lightboxes and large format photographs from the Love series (2001-06), taken in Uganda as part of the research that led to the film Out of Blue (2002), Red and Wet series (2000-12), and landscape photographs of Zanzibar taken in 1998 are also on view.

Zarina Bhimji, born in Mbarara, Uganda in 1963, is a photographer, filmmaker and installation artist who lives and works in London. She was born to Indian parents, and moved to Britain in 1974, two years after the expulsion of Uganda’s Asian community in the Idi Amin era. Bhimji received a BA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths, University of London in 1987, and an MA in Fine Art from the Slade (University of London). Her group exhibitions following that, including From Two Worlds at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1986, and In/sight at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1996. She was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2007; was artist-in-residence at the DAAD programme in Berlin, and debuted the film Out of Blue at documenta XI, Kassel, Germany, in 2002; and she received a Paul Hamlyn Foundation award in 1999. She has exhibited extensively in solo and group exhibitions, including most recently at the Art Institute of Chicago (2009); Tate Liverpool (2007); Tate Britain (2003), and the Hayward Gallery (2006). Her work is held in collections including Tate, UK, The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, USA, and Moderna Museet, Sweden.

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