Parallax us a monumental three-channel, single-image audio-visual animation created from hundreds of detailed and hand-drawn paintings by the MacArthur Fellowship-winning visual artist Shahzia Sikander. Created in 2013 for Sharjah Biennial 11, Parallax was inspired by Sikander's journey through the unique landscape of the United Arab Emirates. The work examines contested histories of colonialism, mechanisms of power and cultural authority, and tensions over the control of the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf. Maritime Trade, movement of resources and commmodities (such as bodies and oil), naval warfare, the East India Company, and imperial air and land travel routes all underlie Sikander's ouevre.
In Parallax, Sikander invesigates interdisciplinary visual and verbal languages, migration patterns, cultural quarantine, and the flux of human identities as they come together to cultivate new associations through movement, repetition, velocity, and magnitude. The animation's original score, created in collaboration with the 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Du Yun, creates tension and rhythm, while poets recite and narrate, engaging geographical locations that can be occupied from afar through emotional connection.
Publisher: Tufts University Art Gallery, Medford, MA
With essays by Ayesha Jalal, Tasneem Zehra Husain, and Sara Raza, with an in-depth interview between Sikander and Amy Ingrid Schlegel