The Honolulu Museum of Art presents internationally recognized artist Shahzia Sikander’s immersive 15-minute, 45-foot-wide video animation melding her signature contemporary take on Indo-Persian miniature painting with 21st-century digital technology that she created for the Sharjah Biennial in 2013.
The multichannel installation, composed of hundreds of digitally animated images taken from Sikander’s watercolor, gouache and ink paintings, and featuring atmospheric music and sound by Du Yun, will fill the entire Henry R. Luce Gallery. Visitors can take a seat in front of the wide, arced screen and let mesmerizing imagery flow over them, as it builds in intensity.
The work focuses on the Strait of Hormuz—the narrow passage between the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman where the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Iran almost meet, and where one-fifth of the world’s oil passes. The area’s historical power tensions—a study in conflict and control—inspired Parallax. Drawn elements come together to create dissonance and disruption.
On the screen, abstract, representational and textual forms coexist and jostle for domination. Sikander takes motifs such as the stylized hairdo of Gopi women who worship Krishna and has them flying in swarms, like a starling murmuration. What appear to be Christmas trees are constructions of valves and spools—like oil rigs, spouting black gold. Human voices recite Arabic poems and narrate, creating tension and rhythm while oscillating between audible texts and the environmental sounds.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website