Shan Pipe Band Learns the Star-Spangled Banner by Bani Abidi

Bani Abidi is a Pakistani artist who works with performance and lens-based media.


7 mins 31 secs
Art Fund grant:
£15,000 ( Total: £15,000)
Acquired in:
Green Cardamom Gallery

In her video and photography she uses fictional narratives or performance in everyday situations to analyse the politics of contemporary Pakistan. This work brings a quotidian humour and empathy to the politically charged setting of post 9/11 Pakistan. Using wry humour, this video based work tackles postcolonial contradictions and Pakistan’s difficult role as a US ally in the War Against Terror. Traditional Scots bagpipe bands in Pakistan are a legacy of the British Raj. Abidi commissioned the Lahori Shan Pipe Band to learn the American national anthem in an afternoon for this process-based work. Viewers watch as on one side of the split screen the band work their way to learning the tune by ear, fumbling through good-naturedly and chivvying each other along, while on the right hand screen we see the street outside, where people walk and washing hangs, cut with shots of the band’s brocaded costumes. The inimitable whine of the bagpipes creates an unexpected ambience at odds with the hot and dusty street. This work was presented by the Art Fund through Art Fund International.


The artist.

Venue details

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery Queen's Road, BRISTOL Bristol BS8 1RL 0117 922 3571

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