In Conversation Bani Abidi and Mariam Zulfiqar

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

Join artist Bani Abidi in conversation with Artangel Director Mariam Zulfiqar as they discuss Abidi’s new film, The Song, alongside previous works from the artist’s practice.


Receiving its UK premiere at John Hansard Gallery, The Song draws on Abidi’s interest in sound and migration and what it means to be displaced. The film 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 Song 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.

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.

The Song is on show at John Hansard Gallery from 11 February to 6 May 2023.

About the speakers:

Bani Abidi (b. Pakistan 1971), lives and works in Berlin and Karachi whose practice incorporates film, photography and drawing, reflecting on the problems of nationalism and borders, and how such issues affect everyday life and individual experience. She has exhibited extensively internationally and her work can be found in collections including: TATE and the British Museum, London; MOMA and the Guggenheim Museum, New York; and the Sharjah Art Foundation.

Mariam Zulfiqaris the Director of Artangel. Prior to joining the team in January 2022, Mariam led the National Art Programme at Forestry England where she implemented a new strategic direction, developing partnership projects at the intersection of art, design, architecture, environment, and ecology. Mariam’s primary area of focus is art in the public domain and as an independent curator, she has commissioned projects for Film and Video Umbrella and Art on the Underground and Chiswick House.

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