About this artwork
Zarina Bhimji’s Out of Blue captures nuanced impressions of presentday Uganda, where the artist lived as a child. For Bhimji, however, the film transcends biographical concerns. She explained, "The work is not a personal indulgence; it is about making sense through the medium of aesthetics." In the opening scene, a crackle of flames erupts into an allencompassing fire that overtakes an expansive, verdant landscape. This destructive, yet mesmerizing blaze acts as a dynamic formal element that sets the tone of the film. Intermingled with sweeping views of a picturesque countryside are lingering shots of empty locations imbued with memory and loss—disused refugee dwellings, cemeteries, prison cells, and schoolyards—evoking both British colonial rule and the repressive military dictatorship of Idi Amin, during which thousands of Asians were expelled from the country. Matching the intense visual detail of the film is the artist’s richly layered soundtrack, in which ambient sounds from nature—mosquitoes buzzing, bird wings flapping—are punctuated with distant gunshots, chaotic voices, excerpts from General Amin’s radio announcements, and a woman’s sobs. Viewed as an open-ended, aesthetic engagement with the processes of looking and understanding, Out of Blue is neither memoir nor protest. According to Bhimji, "My work is about learning to listen to difference in its various forms… . It is not about capturing an existing thing; it is about creating a new one."
Currently Off View
- Contemporary Art
- Zarina Bhimji
- Out of Blue
- 16mm color film, sound, transferred to digital video (projection), 24:25 min. loop Edition number one of four
- Restricted gift of Barbara Ruben in memory of Thomas H. Ruben
- © Zarina Bhimji. All rights reserved. Courtesy of The Times of India, Begum Abida Parveen from the album "Baba Bulleh Shah".