01.04.2021 Views

Reframed – The Travelling World is Not Arriving

ReFramed is a Midlands-based network for Black, Asian and other racialised communities interested in producing photographic visual art. Set up by a team of award-winning photographers and curators, from these above communities, who believe that visual arts can play a critical role in shaping civic and contemporary attitudes. Starting collaborative conversations and changing prevailing thoughts about race, the local environment and our communities. As the first wave of COVID-19 approached, we were conscious of how our communities were being disproportionately affected and yet under-represented both in terms of who was being interviewed about it but also regarding who was asking the questions. The lack of inclusion and diversity in the media and the arts, whilst long-term and historical, seemed to be most apparent to us. Regrettably, even after many arts organisations, in the wake of the global Black Lives Matter movement, had pledged to be more inclusive. As a result, we undertook, with collaboration from Black Country Visual Arts and funding from the Arts Council, to create a range of opportunities for artists, from a cross-section of backgrounds, to respond directly to COVID-19 and the multiple ways it had affected their lives. The funding enabled us to support two artists, a number which later grew to five with the support of Kala Phool, Slanguages, New Art Exchange and Birmingham City University. Alongside these established artists we also, through workshop-based training opportunities, worked with several new artists across the Midlands to help them produce bodies of photographic work. We believe that it is fundamental that those involved in commissioning and making work that is directly about our communities, have the lived experiences, knowledge and consent of those communities in order to reflect them in honest and recognisable ways. In this light, it has been a great pleasure for all of us at ReFramed to have been able to give these artists the platform and opportunity to respond to this moment in time. The following images in this publication reflect the approaches of both our Bursary Artists and photographic workshop participants. Through their eyes we get to see their lives, thoughts and feelings reflected to us in an enduring time that is still yet to pass.

ReFramed is a Midlands-based network for Black, Asian and other racialised communities
interested in producing photographic visual art. Set up by a team of award-winning
photographers and curators, from these above communities, who believe that visual arts
can play a critical role in shaping civic and contemporary attitudes. Starting collaborative
conversations and changing prevailing thoughts about race, the local environment and our
communities.
As the first wave of COVID-19 approached, we were conscious of how our communities were
being disproportionately affected and yet under-represented both in terms of who was being
interviewed about it but also regarding who was asking the questions.
The lack of inclusion and diversity in the media and the arts, whilst long-term and historical,
seemed to be most apparent to us. Regrettably, even after many arts organisations, in
the wake of the global Black Lives Matter movement, had pledged to be more inclusive.
As a result, we undertook, with collaboration from Black Country Visual Arts and funding
from the Arts Council, to create a range of opportunities for artists, from a cross-section of
backgrounds, to respond directly to COVID-19 and the multiple ways it had affected their
lives.
The funding enabled us to support two artists, a number which later grew to five with the
support of Kala Phool, Slanguages, New Art Exchange and Birmingham City University.
Alongside these established artists we also, through workshop-based training opportunities,
worked with several new artists across the Midlands to help them produce bodies of
photographic work. We believe that it is fundamental that those involved in commissioning
and making work that is directly about our communities, have the lived experiences,
knowledge and consent of those communities in order to reflect them in honest and
recognisable ways.
In this light, it has been a great pleasure for all of us at ReFramed to have been able to
give these artists the platform and opportunity to respond to this moment in time. The
following images in this publication reflect the approaches of both our Bursary Artists and
photographic workshop participants. Through their eyes we get to see their lives, thoughts
and feelings reflected to us in an enduring time that is still yet to pass.

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THE

TRAVELLING

WORLD IS NOT

ARRIVING

AMRIT DOLL, ASHWIN PATEL, BHARTI PARMAR, DE’ANNE CROOKS, ISMAIL

KHOKON, JUSTIN CAREY, KRISHAN PATEL, NILUPA YASMIN, PRITT KALSI,

RAÚL VALDIVIA MURGUEYTIO, REBECCA ORLEANS, SANAH IQBAL

1


THE TRAVELLING WORLD

IS NOT ARRIVING

Published by

2 3


INTRODUCTION

ReFramed is a Midlands-based network for Black, Asian and other racialised communities

interested in producing photographic visual art. Set up by a team of award-winning

photographers and curators, from these above communities, who believe that visual arts

can play a critical role in shaping civic and contemporary attitudes. Starting collaborative

conversations and changing prevailing thoughts about race, the local environment and our

communities.

As the first wave of COVID-19 approached, we were conscious of how our communities were

being disproportionately affected and yet under-represented both in terms of who was being

interviewed about it but also regarding who was asking the questions.

The lack of inclusion and diversity in the media and the arts, whilst long-term and historical,

seemed to be most apparent to us. Regrettably, even after many arts organisations, in

the wake of the global Black Lives Matter movement, had pledged to be more inclusive.

As a result, we undertook, with collaboration from Black Country Visual Arts and funding

from the Arts Council, to create a range of opportunities for artists, from a cross-section of

backgrounds, to respond directly to COVID-19 and the multiple ways it had affected their

lives.

The funding enabled us to support two artists, a number which later grew to five with the

support of Kala Phool, Slanguages, New Art Exchange and Birmingham City University.

Alongside these established artists we also, through workshop-based training opportunities,

worked with several new artists across the Midlands to help them produce bodies of

photographic work. We believe that it is fundamental that those involved in commissioning

and making work that is directly about our communities, have the lived experiences,

knowledge and consent of those communities in order to reflect them in honest and

recognisable ways.

In this light, it has been a great pleasure for all of us at ReFramed to have been able to

give these artists the platform and opportunity to respond to this moment in time. The

following images in this publication reflect the approaches of both our Bursary Artists and

photographic workshop participants. Through their eyes we get to see their lives, thoughts

and feelings reflected to us in an enduring time that is still yet to pass.

The ReFramed Team

4 5


FOREWORD

Representation matters. Who gets to represent whom, on what basis, and how, when and

why stories are told through various mediums, is a pressing issue of our time.

In 2020 with the onset of a global pandemic, and then the resurgence of the Black Lives

Matter movement around the world after the killing of George Floyd in the USA, these former

issues take on further resonance.

Here, representations do not simply matter on the page, the screen, the canvas, the object,

the photograph etc, they are also part of lived experience and socio-cultural community

formations that involve different ways of life, pain and celebration of the human spirit.

It is in this context that we, Kala Phool, Slanguages and Birmingham City University, found

ourselves responding to the call to support Black, Asian and minority ethnic artists as part of

ReFramed’s call for the need to develop and showcase diverse representation in the visual

arts.

Kala Phool and Slanguages are delighted to be working with Nilupa Yasmin and her

@bangles_for_all project, and Birmingham City University’s Faculty of Arts, Design and

Media are equally thrilled to be working with Justin Carey on his project exploring personal

responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in the urban context.

Through Yasmin’s use of bangles and how people have intimate connections and histories to

this item of adornment, we can move from the merely decorative to the personal and wider

spaces of the identities of the wearer.

Carey’s use of the photographic documents the effects of the pandemic on loved ones and

how their day to day has been transformed in an otherwise busy city setting. Through his

visual representations, we can contemplate the connections between the urban and people

around us, as perhaps often taken for granted.

Black, Asian and other diasporas in multicultural cities like Birmingham are part of its urban

fabric and textures. They also offer a range of resources to draw on and tell stories anew

and to offer representations that matter.

Indy Hunjan, Kala Phool

Professor Rajinder Dudrah, Birmingham City University and Slanguages

6 7


Raúl Valdivia Murgueytio

Peru has been on the news a lot this year. The

COVID-19 pandemic has hit the South American

country particularly hard, especially the capital, Lima,

where I grew up.

I live in Nottingham, which has one of the highest

COVID-19 infection rates in the UK.

Reading about the situation in Peru while being

in lockdown made me reflect on some recurrent

themes in the representation of Peru in the Western

imagination.

My ReFramed project aims to capture this process

of quiet introspection while exploring notions

of (in)visibility in relation to cultural heritage and

orientalism.

8 9


10 11


The ukuku mask has a particular meaning in one of the most important

celebrations in the Peruvian Andes. For me, the mask has a different

connotation though.

As a non-white South American living in a largely mono-cultural area

of the UK, articulating a social identity is far from a straightforward

process.

12 13


Krishan Patel

In this series of photographs, I showcase how

gardening has benefited my father amidst

a pandemic. My father used to work a lot in

the week, however, restrictions in leaving the

house and increased free time has led to an

uprise in home gardening.

This horticulture has helped my father’s mental

health; no longer is he stressed about work

or even COVID-19. Instead, he is peaceful

through watering plants, growing vegetables

and sitting in the garden as a sense of

achievement.

Additionally, the food and plants he grew have

now developed into culturally practical uses

within our Indian household.

With COVID-19 connoting negativity

throughout the British Asian community, I want

to depict a growing positive story that has

been nurtured by the lockdown.

Gardening has metaphorically buried my

father’s stress and planted a positive mindset

to flourish during an opposing time of anxiety

and restriction.

14 15


16 17


Amrit Doll

Amrit Doll’s photo-journalistic images examine

the daily life of her father, Gurcharan Singh

Doll, an Indian-born Sikh, who has lived in

England for thirty-nine years and has worked

as a black cab driver for the previous nineteen

years.

Travelling with him on his rounds, Amrit

captures the impact of the pandemic on his

working life during a time of local lockdowns,

reduced travel, heightened anxiety and

increased personal risk.

Using their conversations in the taxi as a

starting point, father and daughter worked

collaboratively to create the poem, The

Travelling World is Not Arriving. Writing in his

mother-tongue of Punjabi, Gurcharan shares

his experiences to tell of the heartbreak at the

lack of work in a situation where few options

are available.

Located in Leicester, the first place in the

United Kingdom to go through a local

lockdown, the drastic changes in working

life are hardships shared by many of the taxi

driving community.

Credit for the poem belongs to Gurcharan

Singh Doll and Amrit Doll.

18 19


d[BhnK Bjh nkT[dh

fszB w[;kco

bzvB s' rZvh ftu nkJ/ ;h.

gfjbK ;'_ ;'_ nkT[d/ ;h.

j[D d[BhnK Bjh nkT[dh.

gfjb/ Bzpo s/ iK e/ th,

d' xzN// yVBk g?Idk j?.

fJe fdB, w?~ gzi xzN/ d/ ftu

fJe i'p fwbh ;h.

£ à pD/ ;h. eJh vokJhtoK d/ sK

£ á th Bjh pD/.

j[D d[BhnK Bjh nkT[dh.

w/ok fdb N[N frnk,

go fo;e b?Dk g+dk j?

go e'Jh ckfJdk Bjh j?rk

go s[;h eh eo ;ed/ j'

id' you/ ;ko/ gk;/ xV/ jB?.

;tkohnK Bjh nkT[dhnK.

The Travelling World is Not Arriving

There were only three people

on a train from London.

There used to be hundreds.

The travelling world is not arriving.

At the front of the rank,

it is a two hour wait for a customer.

I have even waited five hours for

one job.

I made £6. Some drivers

didn’t even make £5.

The travelling world is not arriving.

It breaks my heart,

but I have to take the risk

but there is no point working

but what can you do

when all the costs are high?

The travelling world is not arriving.

20 21


22 23


Nilupa Yasmin

Bangles for All

The project began as an exploration into

the communities residing within Soho Road,

Birmingham.

Taking inspiration from the iconic film

‘Mother India’, which has been associated

with Kala Phool and Slanguages (KP & S) and

their various works, the research through this

project focused on the particular notions of

adornments, power and self-identity. These

ideals are represented in the film and have

become a universal way of connecting womxn

in all walks of life.

Nilupa began photographing on Soho Road

and was kindly granted access from the shop

Chohan’s. Specialising in customised bridal

jewellery, many people travel from all over the

country to buy their pieces from Chohan’s.

Moving the images from a documentary

style, digital manipulation became a form of

experimentation with these images. During

previous research, she learnt about the many

things that can be made with old bangles,

from decorations for festivals and weddings to

utilitarian objects giving bangles a life after

they have been worn.

24 25


Creating various objects from bangles and thread bought on Soho Road,

overlayed onto the images taken in Chohan’s. The presented set of

images show the variations of bangles, the essence of colour and the

range of bangles that can become a part of one’s life.

The bangle later became a symbol of storytelling brought together

through an online sharing platform, which encouraged people to share

their own takes behind the bangle.

Submissions were encouraged from all genders and not limiting to any

one cultural background ensuring a sense of inclusion to all. Both

KP & S are hoping to have a physical space in the future where the

community can come together to make their own objects and share oral

stories.

A way of giving back to others, the essence of community and

handmade objects tie into the preliminary ideas of what this project set

out to do.

26 27


Justin Carey

“Life before COVID-19 was ticking

along...”

This work explores themes arising from the

contrasting experiences of my mother, who

was sheltering alone at home during the

first lockdown, and myself, a frontline health

worker during this pandemic.

COVID-19 has obliged us all to reconcile with

the fact that certain aspects of our lives may

have been irrevocably changed.

For me this work has really been about

reckoning with loss and mourning, fear

and isolation, sickness, recovery, stoicism

and inequality in a rapidly-changing and

increasingly uncertain world.

28 29


30 31


32 33


Coronavirus in Black and White

An infographic Redwork embroidery sampler

Cotton on cotton

1 metre +

Words

Bharti Parmar

On the 23rd March 2020 at 8pm, the British Prime Minister delivered a statement on national

television on COVID-19, beginning ‘The coronavirus is the biggest threat this country has

faced for decades and this country is not alone…’

This statement represented the most significant set of restrictions on British life in living

memory as Boris Johnson ordered people to stay in their homes. It was also an event

marked indelibly in my consciousness, and no doubt in that of the nation, and made even

more poignant that my ident, commissioned by ITV to play between programme changes,

was running that week ironically bookending the PM’s sombre address.

Pictures

As an artist I’m in the business of making images. Paralysed by the dismal prospect of

lockdown for the creative community, my studio closed down and I made no images for

months. I looked out of the window, walked along the canal to escape the concrete environs

of Birmingham and watched my inbox for emails from organisations with whom I was in

conversation with about prospective projects emails which never came.

I listened to the radio, watched TV and grappled with the grim statistics of the emerging

pandemic picture. I watched as statues toppled in protest because Black Lives Matter and

I listened to new words and phrases which became common parlance Zoom, lockdown,

herd immunity, social distancing and observed their distillation into graphics to nudge our

behaviour.

Stories

I made myself useful by sewing masks and scrubs for medics during the PPE procurement

debacle. And I thought deeply about how this stilling activity sewing can anchor during

turbulent times, and how stitch can become a visual language in providing a powerful tool to

tell stories.

As an asthmatic and a BAME woman in the age bracket of considerable risk, I began

collecting ONS data about increased risk factors and observing how the virus has impacted

my own community of South Asians, both in this country and in India, and reflecting also on

why it has disproportionately affected communities across the West Midlands.

Lockdown date

Syringe

Microscope

Mask

First BAME surgeon death

Coughing in sleeve

Intubation

Bicycle

Vitamin D

Leicester lockdown

India lockdown

Domestic abuse

BLM

Test, track and trace

Clapping

Pangolin

WHO

Obesity

Zoom

Sanitiser

Stay home

1 metre plus

Toilet paper

Daily briefing

Swab

Protect the NHS

Stay alert

Sore throat

Don’t shake hands

No fly

Hydroxychloroquine

R number

Furlough

34 35


Scale paper template of sampler

Credit: Bharti Parmar

Dr Adil El-Tayar

Ink on paper

Credit: Bharti Parmar

This is how this project was born; a task on marking a moment, documenting the shifting

sands of my life and the lives of others and their deaths. Just as this essay is a chronicle,

this embroidery is also a chronicle, a story in pictures of how we commemorate, identify

with and remember names with dignity. And also to recognise social transformation and the

engendering of unity that ‘we are all in this together’.

In the 19th century photographs were believed to ‘still lives’ and steal the soul of the subject.

I thought about the photographs of BAME doctors repeatedly appearing on our screens

who have died of the virus, particularly of Adil El-Tayar, a renowned organ transplantation

specialist who was the first working NHS surgeon to die from COVID-19 in hospital in the UK.

Naming

Coronavirus in Black and White is a working title for a diptych embroidered sampler. It is

so called because it is envisioned in two parts: a white embroidery, and a black one in

conversation with each other, the colours representing both the materiality of the work, and

its political inference.

This project concerns the white embroidery. Appropriated from a design of an American

19th century artefact it is embroidered with contemporary icons, infographics and emojis of

today relating largely to Coronavirus in the UK and its impact on diverse communities. Its

structure contains references of our time: it is grid-like containing vignettes which evoke

how we communicate with others via Zoom, and it makes a nod to shifting social distancing

regulations in its size. Worked in ‘Redwork’ a historical form of needlework, it uses red cotton

thread because red is a potent signifier, an emergency colour.

Dr Adil El-Tayar

Credit: NHS

Dr Adil El-Tayar

Embroidery, cotton thread on cotton

Credit: Bharti Parmar

36 37


Migrant labourers and their families sprayed in chemical solution upon their entry into

Bareilly, India.

Credit: Screengrab, Kanwardeep Singh Times of India

My work has always veered towards a fascination for the vernacular, the handmade and the

boundaries of practices and definitions. I am also interested in vernacular photography and

my proposal to make an embroidery combines historical sewing methods with the ultimate in

vernacular photography clip art.

Sewing

Embroidered samplers are needlework specimens, made especially popular in the Victorian

period and produced as a demonstration or a test of skill. Usually women’s work, they

depicted biblical tracts, folk images and the alphabet. Moreover, like photographs today, they

functioned as historical documents or snapshots of particular moments in time.

Don’t be mistaken, there is nothing ‘folksy’ about this work which will be populated, over

time, with infographics using clip art which have become subsumed into our vocabulary.

Examples such as icons of facemasks, NHS logos, washing hands, all of which are derived

from photographic sources morphed into line drawing, then hand embroidery. The sampler is

illustrative because it is documentary-style in its nature and read as a photo story.

Iconic to icon

An infographic is any kind of visual representation of information or data. Usually derived

from photographic sources they are essentialised into icons: a nurse (always female)

becomes a stick figure with a thermometer, a doctor wears a stethoscope, a virus is a

radiating wheel... and so on. But some do not exist to explain our situation.

I have designed ones relating to the Leicester lockdown, the spraying of Indian daily wage

labourers with disinfectant on the instruction of PM Narendra Modi and the disputed efficacy

of vitamin D.

Time

Although scientists know more now, nothing is certain about this virus. We don’t know how

long it will be around, if there will be a vaccine, or whether the virus will mutate.

This artwork is more than an exercise in marking time. It will take a year to make, maybe

two. It is a long duration work and there may be a film to accompany it of my hands working

across the material, sewing, unpicking, repeating actions, marking time metaphors for the

repetitive nature of our new existences perhaps. There are gaps in the template because

there are images still unknown in our visual vocabulary.

Undertaking the task of sewing this sampler, and the documenting of this process in

photography and film, helps give meaning and memory to this time; making a mark, stilling

lives, remembering names.

October 2020

Indian PM Narendra Modi

Embroidery, cotton thread on cotton

Credit: Bharti Parmar

Disinfecting daily wage labourers

Embroidery, cotton thread on cotton

Credit: Bharti Parmar

38 39


Rebecca Orleans

Capturing the moment and changing views of

Birmingham have been a way for Rebecca to

gain peace throughout lockdown.

After hearing the quote “The best camera

is the one you have with you” by Chase

Jarvis, Rebecca has explored mobile phone

photography alongside shooting with a

mirrorless camera.

The increase in mobile phone photography

and the quality, along with the flexibility of

always being able to capture the beauty in a

photo has intrigued Rebecca and fueled this

body of work.

“Having the opportunity to learn from

everyone involved in ReFramed has

opened my eyes to the passion I have for

photography” Rebecca wants to continue to

explore other genres of photography, such as

portraiture.

Since childhood visiting various markets in London, the open market keeps that magic

alive. Over lockdown from March until June the markets closed. My heart was heavy on

how those stall holders were surviving. The closed markets are quite eerie and portray a

feeling of loneliness.

40 41


Centenary Square is currently the end of the line for the Midland Metro trams. Will there

be an end of the line for lockdown? Is it that simple? Will things ever go back to normal?

The tramline will continue all the way up to Five Ways. As for Birmingham, who knows?

Throughout lockdown, signage has been placed everywhere. How much do we actually

pay attention to the signs? How much distance do we really keep and can we look up to

the sky for a change in the situation from this pandemic?

42 43


Ismail Khokon

In April 2020, I was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Myself and the rest of the family were in

isolation for many weeks.

It took a while to recover, but I am fine now.

In this project, I wanted to learn how other

people from minority backgrounds were

coping in these difficult times.

I met people, mostly random strangers and

conducted extended ethnographic interviews.

Usually, these were recorded on my phone,

and later I would transcribe the interviews

and use their words to express their emotions

through their photographs.

The photo paintings were paying homage

to my current home, Nottingham, but also in

memory of my homeland in Bangladesh, and

the artistic background I took on my journeys.

I welcome and have learnt much from the

ReFramed mentoring over the past few

months, and this journey continues.

Amrik

I first met Amrik Singh at the Forest recreation grounds near Hyson Green, Nottingham,

just after the first lockdown began.

He had recently come back from India, where he had been in lockdown, and now he was

experiencing the same thing back in England.

He was praying for a vaccine to cure COVID-19 as he can see how much young people

are suffering at the moment.

44 45


Yasin

Yasin comes from

Hucknall, in Nottingham.

During Halloween he

took the tram into the

city centre in a ghostly

mask.

The combination

of Halloween and

COVID-19 make for a

very scary ride.

Katarzyna

Katarzyna lives in Hucknall, just north of Nottingham. She works in the care sector and spends a lot

of time listening to people who are lonely because the rules prevent families from seeing each other.

They are alone and lonely, just to be safe.

Before the pandemic, we never thought about what being separated from family meant, now everyone

thinks about this.

Ricky

Ricky Richard is a multisport and a

football coach with a local community

organisation.

The pandemic has badly affected his

work, and football stopped. It is such

an important part of young people’s

existence, and its absence made a big

impact on their lives.

Now he can train only a small number of

people. It’s very slow progress.

46 47


Ashwin Patel

Living with Covid

My project explores how relationships in the

home have fundamentally developed and

changed within the COVID-19 era.

Carrie Mae Weems and Deana Lawson

have influenced my approach to this project

greatly, with imagery set in individual home

environments.

Both artists have a distinctly powerful

signature in their images, with confrontational

intimacy in their imagery such as ‘Soweto

Queen’ by Deana Lawson.

There is a stunning balance of elements

including race, sex and power, with Carrie

Mae Weems’ iconic ‘The Kitchen Table’ series,

inviting the audience to explore the presence

of themes within the intimacy of the home.

I am interested in exploring the theme of

family and relationships within the intimacy

of the living room, a space where individuals

have spent vastly more time in lockdown.

I hope for my work to encourage people to

reflect and have conversations about how

their relationships in the COVID-19 era have

fundamentally developed and changed.

Looking at their living space and identity, from

a different perspective.

48 49


The dynamic of my family and relationships have entered a metamorphosis. Boundaries

that separated our social environments, work and relationships have been compressed into

digital screens and walls of the home, along with the spectrum and intensity of emotions they

hold.

Conversations never mentioned or rarely overheard, are now suddenly brought to the

forefront.

Spending greatly more time together is one of the illusions I have found during lockdown.

Whilst we are physically closer than ever, spending days and weeks together in the same

home, the nature of work and rise in pressures leaves us with little real interaction with one

another in the day.

During the week, we spend most of our time in our individual spaces, fixated on the work

projecting from our screens.

The initially refreshing, yet haunting, absence of travel and distractions from colleagues,

friends and life has led to a resurgence of intense self-reflection with internal monologues,

that threaten to be consuming.

Introspection can be healthy, but ensuring I practice caring for the flow and

compartmentalising of thoughts and pressures in new ways has become essential for solace.

50 51


Pritt Kalsi

I was the fortunate person who received a bursary from the

New Art Exchange in Nottingham to make a short video film for

ReFramed during COVID-19. After Nottingham was placed into Tier

3 restrictions, my trip to the city was cancelled. In the films I have

produced, I present three stories from Birmingham, from three very

different groups of people.

In some respects, I am here as a casualty of COVID-19. I lost my

job after 17 years because of the pandemic. I worked in a large

industrial manufacturing corporation. When the pandemic started,

the company had so many meetings, working out how they would

ensure we could continue to work socially distanced and safe.

The new working practices keep us physically safe, but not the jobs;

they had to go. So after 17 years, I decided to enter the creative

sector on a full-time basis.

In my work, I explore how the pandemic has hit the small business

owner. Small family businesses were mostly left to their own

devices to come up with a health and safety action plan, while the

government was still working out their guidance.

I come from Birmingham, from a community where English is not their

first language, and people are already struggling.

I have appreciated spending time filming these stories. Despite

the pandemic, these people all remain resilient, determined, and

optimistic about the future. Growing up in an Indian household, my

father and mother always taught us to face life and stay positive.

However tough life gets, we can get through it, and we have each

other. So when I took these photos of the staff at Suraj Sweet Centre

and the gentleman getting haircuts, their smiles and laughs made me

think of those lessons.

I explore the lives of the team from Stag Barbers. This young

team recently took over a former music venue, predominantly

used by Birmingham’s Black artists, and turned it into a creative

hub, with the barbers at the epicentre. Only one week after

opening, they were forced to close as the pandemic hit. They

talk about their experiences over the six months.

52 53


One of the stories features Suraj Sweet Centre on Stratford

Road. For more than 20 years, they have served their

community delicacies from their motherland. However,

large Asian weddings have now stopped.

People have stopped long-held traditions giving out sweets

at births, marriages, and birthdays. In the film, the owner of

Suraj Sweets, Bhavesh, speaks about the challenges and

hardships his team have faced.

54 55


I also talk to my parents; in their late 70s, retired and physically vulnerable. They talk about their

hopes, and the role art has played in their lives at this moment in time.

56 57


De’Anne Crooks

Vinora

These photographs exist as documentation of

how faith and fear interject with one another.

A trivial yet underrepresented component of a

worldwide pandemic.

To fathom the difficulties of a forgotten

generation, a marginalised demographic and

a person of faith can be even harder. These

images intend to provide insight into the life of

one woman who sits at the intersection of all

of the above.

My grandmother, Vinora, has lived in England

for 60 years. What is clear is that, throughout

her time here, she has sought comforts of

Jamaica; searching for reminders of her

culture.

As her place of worship was forced to close in

March 2020, Vinora’s ability to cope with the

fear of contracting the virus was tested.

Vinora was being consistently inundated and

overwhelmed with daily news updates that

continually preached fear into her space.

Vinora sat, clinging onto her faith with one

hand and grasping onto fear with the other.

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These images capture and communicate the commitment to fear and faith but

explore the superiority of the latter.

As the pages of the hymn book imply, my nan’s relationship with God has been a

long one. Her faith, her hymn book and her decor engraved with scripture have

aged well. Like her, they have conquered time and tribulations.

As she talks me through a few of her favourite hymns and scriptures, she very

confidently and gently bookmarks hymn 167 from the ‘Hymns of Glorious Praise’

collection.

Resting her finger on the musical notes, the hymn reads Onward Christian

Soldiers.

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The series of images focus on her space. A space where her and her God are; where she

devotes her time to prayer and worship; where she is supposedly safe from the virus.

‘Onward Christian Soldiers’; an encouragement worthy of the title, encapsulates the

atmosphere in Vinora’s home.

Communicated through the composition within each image, COVID-19, for a Jamaican-born

Christian elder, is ultimately a documentation of God at the centre of one’s space. It is where

faith drowns out fear.

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Sanah Iqbal

Fajr / A New Dawn

Throughout this series, Sanah explores the

significant changes that have emerged in

religious spaces as a result of COVID-19.

She focuses on the Muslim community,

showcasing how mosques have enforced

social distancing measures to ensure the

safety of individuals coming together to pray.

Prayer is an essential part of a Muslim’s life.

Before COVID-19, mosques were bustling with

individual and communal prayers.

When congregating, everyone stood in

straight rows shoulder-to-shoulder. The

arrival of COVID-19 has shaken the practice

of congregational prayers and the feeling of

community. Social distancing is now the new

norm.

Using fragments of light and shadow, Sanah

highlights extracts of the mosque which

are overlooked, and gives them a renewed

perspective. The ambience created within the

space reveals how detached we have been

with each other but a light shines through

bringing hope for a new dawn.

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“Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear.”

Quran (2:286)

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ARTISTS

Raúl Valdivia Murgueytio

Pages 6 to 11

Raúl Valdivia Murgueytio is a Peruvian-born independent scholar based in the UK. His

academic interests include visual, cultural and curatorial studies, with a particular focus on

Latin America. Trained in clinical psychology and sociology, he received his Ph.D. from the

School of Arts at Birkbeck, with a thesis on the photographic practice of marginalised groups

in Peru.

Raúl became interested in photography through his training of school teachers in global

citizenship education. In his sessions, he discussed a range of global issues using examples

of social documentary photography, including Sebastião Salgado’s series on migration and

modern slavery.

Raúl’s photographic practice addresses notions of cultural identity and belonging, and it

is influenced by the work of Carrie Mae Weems, Seydou Keita and Francesca Woodman,

among others. Currently, he is organising an exhibition of photographs by renowned

Peruvian intellectual José María Arguedas, to be shown in London 2021.

Krishan Patel

Pages 12 to 15

Krishan Patel is a 19 year old from the West Midlands, currently studying Geography in his

first year at university. His cultural identity has been influenced by growing up in an Indian

household with a lot of ethnic family and friends around him.

With his future ahead, he is ready to develop his photography skills. This interest in

photography has been inspired by his family members as well as a desire to see the world in

different perspectives.

He enjoys exploring work about underrepresented members of society and personal stories

that convey a powerful message. Aside from studying and photography, Krishan has interests

in music, films and sports such as football, badminton and basketball. He is keen on learning

more about a range of other cultures.

Amrit Doll

@a__doll__

Pages 16 to 21

Emerging artist and writer, Amrit Doll, is based in Leicester. Amrit has used this project to

bring together writing and photography to convey the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on

taxi drivers. Many are from ethnic minority backgrounds and have a cultural reticence when

discussing hardship.

After studying MA Fine Art at Birmingham City University, she has presented artwork across

the Midlands and in 2018 to 2019 completed an AA2A residency at Loughborough University.

Nilupa Yasmin

Kala Phool & Slanguages Bursary Award Winner

www.nilupayasmin.com

@nilupayasmin_ & @bangles_for_all

Pages 22 to 25

Nilupa Yasmin is an artist and educator working with primarily lens-based media. Nilupa takes

a keen interest in the notion of culture, self identity and anthropology.

Combined with her love for handcraft and the materiality in photographic explorations, she

repeatedly draws upon her own South Asian culture and heritage.

Her research examines the principles of craft in art-based practice; becoming an evident

methodology shown throughout her work whilst investigating ideals and traditions that are

very close to home.

She continually draws upon what it means to be a British Bangladeshi Muslim Woman and

aims to create a space of representation for the underrepresented through her photographic

practice.

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Justin Carey

BCU Bursary Award Winner

www.justincarey.com

@justincareycom

Pages 26 to 31

Justin Carey’s work reconsiders the urban environment, looking for connections to memories

and emotions that are often unsettled or uncomfortable. Carey’s work also contemplates

how the urban environment itself, with its inherent contrast between densely-populated

spaces and individual solitude, shapes our experience of the world.

Justin seeks to invite the viewer into a discourse around universal themes, creating room for

collaboration and fair representation in his work. Justin was shortlisted for the ArtGemini Prize

in 2015, graduated from the MA photography programme at Falmouth University in 2019, and

combines his photographic practice with a career as a consultant in the NHS. He currently

lives in Birmingham, UK.

Rebecca Orleans

@poppybeadstory

Pages 38 to 41

Rebecca is a photographer based in Birmingham. Previously, she has been involved with the

Inside Out Project for Birmingham, capturing lost stories in 2013.

She was able to capture moments, views and skylines around the London Olympics &

Paralympics in 2012, whilst officiating wheelchair basketball games at the Paralympics.

These opportunities have encouraged Rebecca to learn more about different genres of

photography through Instagram meetups and workshops from local photographers.

She has also embarked on a portrait project capturing the feelings of people involved

with a major disability sporting event held in Worcester: European Wheelchair Basketball

Championships 2015.

Bharti Parmar

ReFramed Bursary Award Winner

www.bhartiparmar.com

@bharti.parmar.studio

Pages 32 to 37

Bharti Parmar is an artist and academic based in Birmingham and has a practice of 30 years.

She studied at the Royal College of Art and has a doctorate in fine art which examines the

poetics of Victorian material culture. She is a regular speaker at conferences on material

culture studies and the postcolonial archive. She has been a trustee of various arts

organisations, including MAC Birmingham, Meadow Arts and Coventry Biennial, currently

serving as an Arts Council England Artistic and Quality Assessor.

She has participated on many international residency programmes, most recently at the

Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin. Recent work includes a commission by ITV to take over

their identity logo for a week in March 2019 for #ITVcreates. In July 2020, she was awarded

the a-n Time Space Money bursary to research a project on Gandhi, Khadi, cotton and

colonialism.

Ismail Khokon

Pages 42 to 45

Ismail moved to Britain from Bangladesh in 2004 as a student. For a few years, he moved to

Poland with his family and last year they decided to move back to the UK.

Ismail was taught Fine Arts in Bangladesh and developed his interests further through a

Masters Degree in Design for Communication from Westminster University in London. He has

spent most of his life in the retail sector but is now spending more time in the art sector.

He has worked as a volunteer at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, Brady Art Centre London and

Surface Gallery. Now he works at New Art Exchange in Nottingham.

Ismail has a broad interest in visual arts, and his practice includes painting, sculpture,

photography, text, installation, graphic design, illustration and poetry.

Bharti is interested in vernacular crafts, systems, taxonomy and the poetics of repair. The

ReFramed bursary has supported research and development of an embroidered COVID-19

infographic sampler. This long-duration work will be produced in her studio with the

assistance of STEAMhouse Birmingham.

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Ashwin Patel

Pages 46 to 49

Ashwin is a British Indian living in the West Midlands. He is fascinated by and passionate about

the field of international relations with interest in the interplay of Culture and Politics from nonwestern

perspectives. He is currently researching Interest Groups in India.

His love for photography has stemmed from watching and learning from family involved in the

art. He loves it as a form of creative expression, as a tool and new perspective to investigate,

express emotion, and discuss dimensions of life further.

Identity has become an increasingly important aspect of his life. As a British Indian, he has

experienced personal conflict in fully embracing culture in his life, initially desiring to assimilate

to fit into a environment that didn’t always encourage and nurture a non-white heritage.

As he has grown, Ashwin is confident embracing the warmth and vibrancy of Indian culture. He

is passionate about exploring the different cultures within an individual’s heritage and identity.

Pritt Kalsi

NAE Bursary Award Winner

www.prittkalsi.com

@kingofthebeatsrecords

Pages 50 to 55

Multiple award-winning artist, Pritt Kalsi, has been involved in the graffiti scene since 1984.

Growing up in Birmingham, he was very quickly influenced by the spirit of the city and its hip

hop scene. Pritt is from an immigrant family that came to the UK from Nairobi, Kenya. Their

original roots are Indian. Very working class, his mother was a seamstress and his father a

machinist.

As other music trends and cultures came and went. Pritt stayed true to his hip hop roots and

went to New York to search out his peers and those that pioneered this movement.

His father had a passion for photography and quickly taught Pritt and his brothers how to

use cameras. Whilst studying design, Pritt became interested in film-making and furthered his

interest in photography.

At the same time, he learned the ins and outs of sampling and DJing, working with drum

machines, old records, turntables and track recorders. After meeting legendary UK graffiti

artist, The Artful Dodger, Pritt was inspired to make his first film, The King of The Beats. This

became an underground hit and inspired beat competitions all over the world. This led to Pritt

making more films.

De’Anne Crooks

ReFramed Bursary Award Winner

www.deannecrooks.com

@de4nnecrooks

Pages 56 to 61

As an artist-educator, much of De’Anne’s practice considers the collaborative and collective

experiences of others. Engaging their practice as a form of activism rather than a teacher

of art, De’Anne’s relationship with pedagogy and contemporary art has cultivated a strong

sense of play with political, moral and emotional themes.

During her fellowship with the Black Hole Club and within her recent commissions for

the Film and Video Umbrella and Vivid Projects, De’Anne has been testing the praxis of

contemporary art adjacent to and in harmony with Blackness. Using video, performative

and fine art, De’Anne continues to address cultural pedagogy with a focus on the oracy of

marginalised persons.

With an unapologetic and deliberate approach to both education and art, De’Anne continues

to challenge the authenticity and inclusivity of her own artistic processes and the culture

within British institutions.

Pursuing opportunities that employ De’Anne’s hybrid skills of using art as an educational tool

is a priority, so De’Anne’s venture into working more closely with and for her community is

anticipated.

Sanah Iqbal

@sanah.iqbal_

Pages 62 to 67

A British Pakistani living in Birmingham, Sanah graduated with a BA in Photography in 2018.

She focuses on contemporary minimalism and architecture, with her work exploring abstract

shapes and textures of buildings.

Her aim is to re-engage viewers into rediscovering the beauty within ordinary and everyday

spaces.

Taking an interest in curating, she has gained experience with organisations such as the New

Art Gallery Walsall, Ort Gallery and Centrala Space.

Working with ReFramed, Sanah has adopted a documentary approach when examining the

effects that COVID-19 is having on the Muslim community.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

FIRST EDITION

ReFramed Team, Co-Directors and Co-Founders:

Anand Chhabra

Andrew Jackson

Jagdish Patel

Sebah Chaudhry

We would like to thank all participating artists, the following

partners and ReFramed friends:

Indy Hunjan, Kala Phool; Rajinder Dudrah, Slanguages &

Birmingham City University (BCU); Melanie Kidd, New Art

Exchange; Alison Honour, BCU; Benjamin Chesterton, duckrabbit.

Funded by Black Country Visual Arts and Arts Council England.

Copyright © 2020 ReFramed Network

Edition of 150

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be transmitted or

reproduced in any form by any means without permission from

the publisher, excepting brief excerpts with appropriate credit for

publicity and reviews.

Images & text copyright © the artists

ISBN: 978-0-9576974-9-2

Designed and printed by Amaris Press

www.amarispress.co.uk

Published by ReFramed Network

www.reframed.uk

info@reframed.uk

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THE TRAVELLING WORLD IS NOT ARRIVING

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