Video still "All That Perishes at the Edge of Land" by Hira Nabi
Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art (GIBCA) The Ghost Ship and the Sea Change 2021

All that Perishes at the Edge of Land

30 min 32 sec
Courtesy the artist 

In Hira Nabi’s film, documentary meets magical realism. We see how the container ship Ocean Master arrives in Pakistan. Ships from all over the world end up at the Gadani shipbreaking yard to be disassembled. The work is both dangerous and badly paid. As the ship is broken apart piece by piece, the workers recall the families and villages they have left behind. Their life by the polluted shoreline is precarious: “Our wages prevent us from dying, but don’t allow us to live either.” The ship itself is also given a voice. The dialogue between her and the workers moves between dreams, hope, fear, and death. Seen from the perspective of Gothenburg, the film can also be understood as an inverted portrait of what was once Sweden’s most prominent ship-building city. How does our understanding of history change when told from the other side of the ocean? 


Hira Nabi (b. 1987, Pakistan) is an artist and filmmaker who works with images and writing to tell stories of the everyday. Her work is built upon different forms of archival and ethnographic research, daily life, and tracing modernity. Nabi’s work has been exhibited at Lahore Biennale (2018); Colomboscope (2019); SAVVY Contemporary and HKW, Berlin; Ashkal AlwanBeirut; Johann Jacobs MuseumZurich; Warehouse 421Abu Dhabi; Extra CityAntwerp; Gandhara Art SpaceKarachi; and at the following film festivals: CPH:DOX, Sundance, AFI Docs, Rencontres Internationalesand DokuFest. She was awarded the 2020 Next Generation Prince Claus Award. Nabi lives and works in Lahore.  


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