We visit artist Zarina Bhimji’s London studio to discover five personal objects that have inspired and informed the artist’s work.
This is my camera. Without this I wouldn’t be able to do any work. It’s my little baby.
It was really important to me to be technically independent because when I was a student it was a territory that was not easily accessible, I felt.
Until I’ve processed the film and looked at the film on my lightbox, I always think I’ve got nothing in it. I always think the trip is wasted. And that’s probably how I keep myself going.
A pair of shoes
I bought these when I was going to film in Africa. I thought these shoes might give me good luck.
I thought these shoes were really interesting because I was interested in the idea of evidence and the bottom of the shoes, if you took them under a microscope, perhaps you would discover a different form of questions: where it’s walked, who it’s met, what it did.
This has been in my studio for a long time. I took this photograph when I first made my trip to India.
All I remember was he said to me: ‘can you adopt me, can I come to England?’
This photograph has taught me a lot because of the way he’s standing. His eyes, his button-holes, give off what I call like a ‘puncture’, a moment of emotion. But it’s formal. And I think maybe that’s what my work is about. Where is the emotion? Where is the physicality?
This was worn by my mum when she first met my dad. It’s very old in the family. It reminds me of a certain moment in time.
It’s a different sensibility to paint on canvas. It’s not about the embroidery. It’s about a certain kind of echo.
The colour scheme in here is really interesting and I think when I grade my films it’s been unconsciously without knowing partly inspired by this sort of colouring.
Early school was a problem because I didn’t speak English. I couldn’t read and write.
I remember my foster mother saying that you might not be able to go to university, but you could do something with your hands. And I thought, wow! So I believed in that.