Rashid Rana, Off shore accounts – II, 2006
Rashid Rana’s photographs are composed of thousands of pixel-like images, ranging in subject matter from stills taken from popular Indian cinema to details of Lahore’s urban environment. Rana meticulously brings these minutiae together to create composite images of famous Indian film stars or landscapes. This attention to detail is akin to that found in the South Asian tradition of miniature painting, which he studied at the National School of Art in Lahore. Rana’s use of digital photographic processes, however, emphasises the contemporary nature of his subject: the urban and increasingly media-saturated landscapes of Lahore.
Offshore accounts – II appears to depict a gentle sea studded with flotsam, but on closer inspection is made up of tiny images of accumulated rubbish as well as historical paintings of colonial sailing vessels. Rana brings together symbols relating to European colonial trade in South Asia with consumer debris to underline the destructive nexus of consumerism and the legacies of colonialism in contemporary Pakistan. The title of the work references wealth generated and held offshore, as well as the process of sending information from a distant location.
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