Shahzia Sikander: "The Last Post" | "Exclusive" | Art21

Uploaded by art21org on 25.01.2013

[Shahzia Sikander: "The Last Post"]
[layered sounds of music samples, static, and distortion]
I tend to look into cultural and political boundaries
and explore, you know, ideas in those boundaries.
Sometimes it's more obvious, sometimes it's less.
Sometimes it's more abstract, and sometimes it's far more illustrative of a political idea or thought.
"The Last Post" plays on the sort of oscillating colonial trade relations
between China and the East India Company at that time, over opium.
I started looking at the East India Company and at the company man,
became like the protagonist who travels throughout India,
and then ventures into China.
In this work, it is also referring to the end of the Anglo-Saxon hegemony over China,
and there is a moment in the animation
where the symbolic figure of the East India Company man sort of explodes.
[distorted explosion sound plays]
There are moments, I think, in the animation that embody some of these concepts,
but it's not necessarily a liner narrative about this whole opium trade.
Animations were quite a natural outcome to my process
because I work in drawing primarily, and a lot of the drawings
play with the idea of narrative, and movement was just a natural outcome.
A lot of the murals that I did, a lot of the wall installations, were fairly large, and built in layers,
and that also was very similar to how a lot of the animation work was constructed,
which was in Photoshop, in layers.
[woman singing softly]
So I'm interested in taking a form, breaking it apart, and then rebuilding it.
It is about transformation for me,
whether it is the transformation of the image or a mark or a symbol.
Or if it's the transformation of a genre or transformation of a medium.
But it is a very core notion that I think stabilizes my practice.