New media series features video by Bani Abidi

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New media series features video by Bani Abidi
Bani Abidi; “The Lost Procession”, 2019; HD single-channel, digital video, color, sound; duration: 17 minutes 48 seconds 2020.202; Image courtesy of Bani Abidi and Experimenter, Kolkata.

ST. LOUIS, MO.- The Saint Louis Art Museum is presenting “The Lost Procession,” a 2018 video work by Pakistan-born artist Bani Abidi as the latest installment of the New Media Series. The free exhibition is on view in Gallery 301 from Nov. 20 through Feb. 21, 2021.

“The Lost Procession” is based on the experiences of the persecuted Hazara community, an ethnic minority of Shia Muslims living in predominantly Sunni Pakistan. In recent decades, Hazara people living in Quetta, the capital of the Pakistani province of Balochistan, have sought refuge in Germany. Abidi draws connections between two environments: Berlin, with its immigrant Hazara community, and Quetta, home to the largest Hazara population in Pakistan.

A quasi-diaristic voiced narrative accompanies “The Lost Procession,” which juxtaposes documentary footage of Hazara people in Berlin participating in a traditional procession with everyday life in Quetta as explored though the perspective of Asef, a Quetta-based photographer. The video reveals personal stories of loss and resilience while examining the conditions responsible for migration as revealed from the viewpoint of residents in Quetta and from that of the refugee community in Berlin. Foregrounding the relationship between two Hazara communities in dire political circumstances, Abidi investigates themes of expropriation, exile, refuge and captivity.

Abidi works across media in video, performance and photography. Her distinctive, deeply poetic approach to filmmaking deftly communicates the dark absurdities of everyday life while offering a compelling aesthetic experience. Her works recount personal and relatable stories that expose tensions between state power, patriotism and displacement, and that draw attention to uneven media representations of India and Pakistan. The exhibition is curated by Hannah Klemm, associate curator of modern and contemporary art, and Molly Moog, research assistant for modern and contemporary art.

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