Zarina Bhimji, born in Mbarara, Uganda, 1963, is an artist who lives and works in London. Through the diverse mediums of photography, film and installation, Bhimji’s practice engages questions of institutional power and vulnerability: universality, and intimacy. Bhimji received a BA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths, University of London and a MA in Fine Art from the Slade, University College London. She was DAAD’s Artist-in-Residence 2002, exhibited as part of Documenta’s 50-year retrospective Discreet Energies in 2005, and was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2007. Awards include the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award in 1999 and the Rauschenberg Residency award, 2014; Bhimji has recently been awarded a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, 2020-21.
Bhimji has exhibited extensively in solo and group exhibitions since coming to prominence in the 1980s, when she was active in the Black Art movement. Significant early shows include From Two Worlds, Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (1986); The Image Employed: The Use of Narrative in Black Art, Cornerhouse Gallery, Manchester, UK (1987); The Essential BLACK ART, Chisenhale Gallery, London, UK (1988). Exhibition highlights from the 90s include Intimate Distance and The Impossible Science of Being, both The Photographers’ Gallery, London, UK (1990 and 1995 respectively); In/Sight, Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA (1996) and Strange Day, Gian Ferrari Arte Contemporanea, Milan, Italy (1997). Bhimji’s work has featured in numerous biennales and international events including Fault Lines, Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2003); Poetic Justice, Istanbul Biennale, Istanbul, Turkey (2003); Zones of Contact, Biennale of Sydney, Sydney, Australia (2006); The Third Guangzhou Triennial, Guangzhou, China (2008); 29th Bienal de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil (2010) and Prospect.3: Notes for Now, New Orleans (2014).
Recent exhibitions include Here We Are Today, Bucerius Kunst Forum, Hamburg, Germany (2019); Lead White, Tate Britain, London, UK (2018)*; The Fabric of Felicity, Garage Museum of Contemporary, Moscow, Russia (2018); The Place Is Here, Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, UK (2017) and South London Gallery, London, UK (2017); Poetics of Relation, Perez Art Museum, Miami, USA (2015); Paradise Lost, Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore (2014); Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (2012)*; Who Knows Tomorrow, Nationalgalerie im Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, Germany (2010); Out of Blue, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA (2009); Turner Prize Nominations 2007, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, UK (2007); How to Improve the World: 60 Years of British Art, Hayward Gallery, London, UK (2006); Experiments With Truth, The Fabric Workshop and Museum, (2004); In Our Time, Works from the Moderna Museet Collection, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden (2004); Tate Britain,
London, UK (2003)*, Documenta XI, Kassel, Germany (2002), and The Short Century, Museum Villa Stuck, Munich (2001). Upcoming exhibitions include Fruit Market Gallery, Edinburgh, UK (2021)*; Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE (2020)* and Lahore Biennale, Lahore, Pakistan (2020).
Bhimji’s work is held in public collections including Tate, UK; Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE; The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, USA; Moderna Museet, Sweden; Government Art Collection, UK; Mead Gallery, UK; Kunst Museum, Switzerland; Perez Art Museum, USA; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. USA; Kadist Art Foundation, France; Arts Council England, UK; Victoria & Albert Museum, UK; Nottingham City Museum and Galleries, UK; New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, UK & many private collections.
Bhimji’s work has received international press and media attention, with interviews and reviews featuring in publications from The Guardian to Spare Rib, and from Art Forum to The Times. Recent books featuring Bhimji and her work include How to Improve the World: 60 Years of British Art, Arts Council, 2016; The Art of Return: The Sixties and Contemporary Culture, James Meyer, and Great Women Artists, edited by Rebecca Morrill, both 2019.
* Solo exhibitions
Interview from Tate Shots