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Art & Art History

Portal: online screenings | Bani Abidi

Monday, August 24, 2020–Monday, September 14, 2020
Gallery 400
400 South Peoria Street, Chicago, IL 60607

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Bani Abidi

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.