Humaira Abid in Seattle Magazine
New Bellevue Arts Museum Exhibition Shows the Plight of Refugees
By Brian Miller | From the Print Edition, Sept 2017
Image Credit: Hayley Young
Refugees are the manifest theme of Searching for Home, giving the show a somber, topical punch. (The United Nations Refugee Agency estimates that there are now more than 65 million displaced persons worldwide.) In past works seen locally at BAM, the Tacoma Art Museum and ArtXchange Gallery, Abid’s art has explored feminist themes of miscarriage, fertility and domestic obligation. Searching for Home looks outward, in what BAM guest curator Jennifer-Navva Milliken calls “a site-specific installation featuring narratives, stories and portraits of refugees in the Pacific Northwest and Pakistan, and sociocultural themes of immigration, women and families.”
In viewing the show, it’s worth remembering that much of downtown Bellevue was built on strawberry fields once owned and worked by Japanese-Americans. Abid’s quietly melancholy show reminds you of a past group demonized during wartime, right here on the home front. There’s a kinship with Roger Shimomura’s work, but drained of the ironic pop art colors. Her forlorn, ownerless luggage also recalls Ai Weiwei’s backpacks commemorating the schoolchildren who perished in China’s 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Abid’s polished objects almost seem sifted from fresh, smoldering rubble.