Girl Gaze: Journeys Through the Punjab & The Black Country, UK is a photographic exploration of The Punjab and diaspora communities in the West Midlands through the voices of young girls and women.
Bringing together newly-commissioned work by four women artists: Jocelyn Allen (UK), Jennifer Pattison (UK), Andrea Fernandes (India) and Uzma Mohsin (India). The exhibition explores diverse themes regarding gender, identity, patriarchy, tradition, culture, memory, place, belonging and difference that shape the lives of women in both countries.
Curated by Iona Fergusson. Produced by Creative Black Country.
Jocelyn Allen’s You Will Live in This World as A Daughter presents a series of playful and enigmatic portraits of women from the Black Country and Jalandhar. Whilst conducting her research the artist discovered that the ratio of men to women in The Punjab is below the national average. Issues surrounding gender inequality are at the forefront of political discourse in the UK and India making the topic an appropriate starting point for Allen’s investigation into the lives of Punjabi girls from the Black Country and those she met in India. Behind her playful portrayals is a meaningful enquiry into their visibility within traditionally patriarchal communities.
In Panjab Court Andrea Fernandes offers an insight into the daily lives of native Panjabi women, the diaspora in England and their descendants. The exhibition explores how women from both regions choose to develop and represent their cultural identities based on the environment and circumstances they live in. Through photographs and texts, the viewer is invited to explore Panjab in its intersection as a historical landmark and an imagined homeland.
In Rice Pudding Moon & The River of Dreams Jennifer Pattison finds inspiration in the rich folkloric traditions of The Punjabi ‘loris’ – particularly the rhythmic lullabies sung by Bazigar communities and the Sufi Saint Sakhi Sarwar, as well as those popularized in Bollywood cinema. Her images conjure up dreamlike visions of a mother’s love for her child: of childhood treats brimming with golden sweets, colourful balloons and tender caresses. Captured within her frame are whispers of a bygone era steeped in rural traditions. Pattison is interested in how lullabies are passed down the generations from grandmother to daughter to grandchild.
Uzma Mohsin’s rich and textured work, Love & Other Hurts, seeks to breathe new life into the personal histories of Punjabi women in the Black Country. Her multi-layered approach to storytelling weaves a rich tapestry of narratives about people, places and their histories. Her photography delves into the lives of women from the Black Country and The Punjab through their personal journeys, family accounts and tales of love. A complex picture of life in diaspora communities and amongst family members in India emerges in her work, that speaks of courage, resilience, bonds of love and friendship but correspondingly of hardship, loneliness, abandonment and depression.
24.05.2019 – 29.06.2019
Opening times: TBC
The building next door to The British Muslim School, Latifiah Fultali Complex, Lodge Road, West Bromwich, B70 8NX
Jocelyn Allen is an artist who mainly works with photography, video and performance. Her work has been exhibited in festivals and group shows both in the UK and internationally. In 2017 she was awarded Graduate Single Image in the British Journal of Photography Breakthrough Awards.
Jocelyn often appears within her personal work, whilst exploring the themes of representation, self-esteem, anxiety, hiding and revealing, and identity.
Andrea Fernandes is a photographic artist from Bombay. She is drawn to the personal heroism of others and their attempts to articulate this through performance. Her practice involves collecting memories and symbols in order to recreate elaborate collages of life. Fernandes has a Master’s Degree in Photographic Studies from University of Westminster, London and is a lecturer on critical thinking in photography. In 2015, Fernandes co-founded BIND, an experimental platform involved in developing original practices and using inventive forms of engagement with the medium. Fernandes is currently involved in creating performative interventions and site-specific installations.
Jennifer Pattison is an award-winning British photographer based in London. Her work has been exhibited at The National Portrait Gallery in London and internationally. She is interested in otherworldly stories and creating characters from her imagination. Her portraits are arresting and full of unselfconscious expression.
Uzma Mohsin was born in Aligarh and graduated from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India. As part of her image-making practice, she uses personal voice, metaphorical exploration and abstraction to unravel narratives of people, places and their histories. Recent exhibitions include: Ephemeral: New Futures for Passing Images at Serendipity Arts Festival in Goa in December 2018 and The Surface of Things: Photography in Process at Alliance Française New Delhi in November 2016. She is the recipient of the Alkazi Foundation’s Documentary Grant, 2017.