As part of the exhibition programme Mahtab Hussain: You Get Me? Autograph ABP, a photography organisation specialising in issues relating to cultural diversity and human rights, invited community activist Ansar Ahmed Ullah on 22 June to conduct a ‘tour’ on the history of anti-racist struggles in London’s East End. The aim was not to present traditional art historical tours but to provide an opportunity for different guest voices to expand on the issues in the exhibitions.
The exhibition Mahtab Hussain: You Get Me? photographs explore the critical question of identity among young working-class British Asian men. You Get Me? addresses the contested political terrain of race and representation, respect and cultural difference. The men captured in Hussain’s portraits identify as Muslim, and expressed that they felt culturally ridiculed by the constant flow of derogatory media representation of their lives. The 24 portraits in the exhibition examine how the weight of masculinity impacts the subject’s sense of self, as they navigate the complex identity formations historically placed upon them.
Mahtab Hussain photographed the series over a nine-year period in Birmingham, where he grew up, stopping individuals in the street and starting conversations as he took their portraits. He later expanded the project to London and Nottingham. The exhibition runs till 1 July at Rivington Place, Shoreditch and it’s free to enter.