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Lead White



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A monograph by Uganda-born British artist Zarina Bhimji exploring the history of Zanzibar, scouring national archives and found documents to bear witness to the country’s troubled past.

Lead White is the culmination of a ten-year-long investigation by renowned British artist Zarina Bhimji, conducted over multiple continents, delving into national archives to source objects and ephemera that together document and interrogate 'the legacies of the powerful and the monumental'.

Carefully researched, photographed and curated, and combining digital technology with traditional craft, Lead White explores the idea of the archive – how photographs and maps, official stamps and white cotton ribbons, lists and handwritten letters in coloured ink create narratives and enforce institutional ideologies. Bhimji draws parallels between Lead White and a musical score, its repetition of words and textures creating a cacophony of sound and motion, through which she draws attention to language, gestures, light and shadows to comment on the culture of power.

Accompanied by a series of evocative texts by the artist herself, and essays by curator Ann Gallagher and Professor M. Neelika Jayawardane, giving invaluable insights into Bhimji's project and working methods, Lead White is a profound and poetic meditation on 'legality, power and beauty'.

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November 2018




240mm x 165mm





No. of pages:


Zarina Bhimji is an artist specialising in the mediums of photography and video installation. Her work is kept in collections around the world, including Tate Britain and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. In 2007 she was shortlisted for the Turner Prize. She lives and works in London.

M. Neelika Jayawardane is Associate Professor of English at the State University of New York-Oswego, and a Research Associate at the Visual Identities in Art and Design (VIAD), University of Johannesburg. Along with academic publications, her writing is featured in Al Jazeera English, Transition, Aperture, Contemporary&, Contemporary Practices: Visual Art from the Middle East, and Even magazine.

Ann Gallagher is a curator and writer. She is currently Director of Collections, British Art at Tate. Exhibitions she has curated at Tate include Rachel Whiteread (2017) and Susan Hiller (2012) at Tate Britain and Helio Oiticica: The Body of Colour (2007) and Damien Hirst (2012) at Tate Modern.


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