Remembrance

Sabina Zeba Haque

My work broadly explores the collisions between art, religion, politics and technology, and my current series addresses the relationship between visibility and invisibility, surveillance, proto-surveillance and the experience of time.

Remembrance is a stop-motion, animated installation and video performance that bears witness to the ruin incited by the drone warfare carried out by the United States military in eight countries, including my native Pakistan.

This site-specific installation situates the viewer between comfort and combat zones, exploring the discomfort and vulnerability of reconciling these divergent realities. Remembrance documents the accrual of tally marks and the dates relate to a moment in time, a day remembered, a person lost to us.

Cinematographer & Editor – Ian Lucero
Sound Design & Original Music - Tamara Weikel
Animator - Cindy Sullivan


In the film, I begin by washing the scarred floors of my studio, recalling the obscured histories of women from a hundred years ago, and their washing of giant white sheets at the Troy laundry building in Portland, Oregon. The red Rangoli Holi pigment used in the Indian subcontinent to celebrate springtime, is sprinkled on the floor, becoming like vibrant earth—the soil that holds the memory of joys and past ruins. As I drag my finger through the fine red dust of the drone silhouette, I am marking time, place and pain. The displaced pigment is reminiscent of the fragility of life and its ephemeral quality. As the water splashes onto the red-pigmented drawing, there is ruin and destruction. What was once there is now gone. The blood-red liquid then dries a beautiful springtime pink. The walls, once filled with the tally marks and voices of the participants, are covered and whitewashed. There is a silencing of the past history of making; all that remains are remnants of a lost place. The work asks to connect to loss and joy simultaneously, and share in collective memories and forgotten experiences. What is it that allows us to dissociate, to move on and heal our wounds? The ancient Rangoli pattern is life's affirming infinity loop; it becomes our cyclical path leading us from ruin to redemption.

This film was funded in part by Oregon Arts Commission Fellowship and a PSU professional development grant.


Sabina Zeba Haque is an artist of South Asian descent raised in Karachi by her American mother and Pakistani father. She received an MFA in Painting from Boston University in 1998 and teaches at Portland State University, Oregon. In 2014 she was awarded the Oregon Art Commission Individual Artist Fellowship and the Jordan Schnitzer Printmaking Residency at the Sitka Art nationally and internationally, connecting her personal experience of living ‘between’ cultures and exploring the creative potential of the many places she calls home. Noteworthy exhibits include solo and group shows at Avampato Museum of Art, Bowery Gallery in New York, the Boston Contemporary Art Center, the Los Angeles Arts and Cultural Center, the South Asian Visual Arts Center and Gallery 1313 in Toronto, Canada and Koel Gallery, Karachi, Pakistan. www.sabinahaque.com