Dan Goddard in Arts + Culture:
Commissioned for the 2013 Biennial in Sharjah, one of the United Arab Emirates states on the Arabian Peninsula, Shahzia Sikander’s Parallax is a complex, shifting, morphing, evolving, abstract, animated meditation on centuries of global competition for natural resources, the history of maritime trade, foreign control of the Strait of Hormuz during the colonial era and the dramatic conflicts today over the hotly contested strait where 35 percent of the world’s petroleum shipped by sea passes.
With aerial views of the strait drawn from 17th and 18th-century maps, swarming microbe-like forms, a map of the United States with Texas plainly visible, oil gushing from rock formations, locust-like red-white-and-blue arms and shattering Christmas trees, Sikander’s panoramic, three-channel HD single-image video is based on hundreds of small drawings derived from the tradition of Indo-Persian miniature painting that have been digitally animated, accompanied by music by the Chinese-born composer Du Yun and the voices of three local poets from Sharjah, who recite in Arabic.
Making its United States debut at the Linda Pace Foundation, Parallax marks Sikander’s return to San Antonio where she first began experimenting with animation in 2001 as an International Artist in Residence at Artpace. Presented as a widescreen projection through March 7, 2015, the video is a new acquisition by the Pace Foundation.