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Exhibition: Past Portal: online screenings | Bani AbidiAug 24–Sep 14, 2020

Still from "Shan Pipe Band Learns the Star Spangled Banner"


Shan Pipe Band Learns the Star Spangled Banner, 2004

Courtesy the artist.

During the COVID-19 stay at home period, Gallery 400 presents a series of online screenings featuring work by artists who have previously exhibited at the Gallery. Each work will stream on the Gallery 400 website for two weeks.

In November 2003, Abidi commissioned a brass pipe band to learn and play the U.S. national anthem in order to address the precarious relationship between Pakistan
 and the United States after September 11 and the global ‘war on terror.’ Abidi took the old colonial symbol of the pipe band—originally associated with the British military— and repositioned the band as a means of addressing American imperialism. Because pipe bands continue to be a fixture in Pakistani culture—playing at weddings and other celebrations—the work reveals how the country has absorbed and translated foreign influences.


Bani Abidi (b, Lahore, Pakistan) is an interdisciplinary artist currently based in Berlin & Karachi. Her work often explores problems of nationalism—specifically those surrounding the Indian-Pakistani conflict and the violent legacy of the 1947 partition dividing the two countries—and their uneven representation in the mass media. She is particularly interested in how these issues affect everyday life and individual experience.

Bani Abidi exhibited at Gallery 400 as part of the show Traduttore, Traditore curated by Karen Greenwalt and Katja Rivera. Traduttore, Traditore brought together a group of artists from around the world who employ processes of translation to expose, question, and challenge global circuits of economic and cultural capital.


Bani Abidi


Support for Portal: online screenings is provided by the School of Art & Art History, the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts, University of Illinois at Chicago; the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; and a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.