Paranoid Picnic: The Phantom BAME confronts post-colonial traumas with testing humour. The frustrations of societal structures are projected into parodic parallel worlds, presented across both Primary and New Art Exchange.
At Primary, a new video installation samples scenes from the BBC miniseries Cranford (2007), a Neo-Victorian adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell’s classic fiction. Taking heritage as a discursive practice involving often intangible acts of remembering, two reflective video collages emerge, each foregrounding acts of what Pandhal describes as dissonant heritage over forms of restorative nostalgia.
At New Art Exchange, an oversized cloak knitted by Pandhal’s mother is adorned with Pandhal’s own hand embroidery. Suggestive designs are stitched into the cloak, pulling the threads tightly together to create bodily protrusions. Pandhal and his mother are divided by language, he speaks little Punjabi, while she speaks little English. What is lost in translation is found, hinting at things that are known without being spoken. It is displayed unfinished, amongst a series of intersectional sculptural cutouts that invoke heritage performance via active participation. Accompanying drawings frame the installation, offering a glimpse into the expanded nature of Pandhal’s work and the overarching decolonising trajectory of his mission.
Hardeep Pandhal, Paranoid Picnic: The Phantom BAME, is a cross site exhibition by Primary and New Art Exchange. This project is supported by The Elephant Trust.