'…you are part of this club…'
The image above by Zarina Bhimji is called Bapa Closed His Heart, It Was Over. Reproduced above or on half a page in the excellent catalogue of the current Bhimji show at the Whitechapel Gallery is has a certain impact. However for those of us who attended the study day at the gallery yesterday I think the emotional impact is probably greater. The image appears as a print and lingeringly at the end of Bhimji’s video Out of Blue. The film is projected across a large wall with a soundtrack that at times seems too loud.
Bhimji explains this: ‘A large picture projection is a necessity as the work is about physical sensations. It is not about capturing an existing thing or moment; it is about creating something new.’
Having that sensation is one of the benefits of attending a study visit, but others are less predictable – for me it was fascinating to have a discussion with one of our students who was working in the Diplomatic Service in Zaire at the time Zarina Bhimji and her parents were expelled from Uganda – it certainly gave me an added perspective.
If the visits aim to give a better understanding of an artist’s work, they are also are intended to create a networking opportunity. Yesterday I borrowed a Sony Bloggie – silly name but a very portable video camera – and caught a few observations on study visits from the first five of Saturday’s 21 students to leave the gallery.
So if you are hesitating about coming on a study visit, please don’t.