Bani Abidi The Song

Bani Abidi, The Song, film still, 2022. Courtesy the artist

John Hansard Gallery is delighted to present an exhibition by Bani Abidi.

Receiving its UK premiere, The Song is a new film work by artist Abidi, whose practice reflects on the problems of nationalism and borders and how such issues affect everyday life and individual experience. The film draws on Abidi’s interest in sound and migration and on what it means to be displaced.

The Song follows the fictional story of an elderly man who has recently arrived in a new and unfamiliar European city. He confronts the isolation of his new apartment by creating his own soundscapes to recreate what is familiar and reassuring. The film poignantly highlights the realities of homesickness, yearning and loss. In so doing, Abidi enables a complex spell of identity to emerge, where we glimpse an intimate portrait that moves between sanity and madness, tragedy and comedy, rootedness and rootlessness.

In addition, John Hansard Gallery will also be showing Abidi’s sound piece Memorial to Lost Words (2016). This installation remembers ordinary civilians and soldiers, rather than the generals and rulers celebrated by architects such as Edwin Lutyens and historians who continually retell the histories of the Great War. The work also exposes the lingering imperial legacies of literature, like Rudyard Kiplings novel Kim, and the Zam-Zammah, and how museum collections, like people, were partitioned between post-colonial India and Pakistan.

Click here to watch an interview with Bani Abidi discussing new film The Song. This short film was created by Film and Video Umbrella, as part of their series FVU Frames.

The Song is commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella, Contemporary Art Society, John Hansard Gallery and Salzburger Kunstverein. Supported by Arts Council England. Presented by Contemporary Art Society to Gallery Oldham.

Bani Abidi, The Song, film still, 2022. Courtesy the artist
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