About

British artist, Mahtab Hussain (b. 1981), explores the important relationship between identity, heritage and displacement. His themes develop through long-term research articulating a visual language that challenges the prevailing concepts of multiculturalism.

He received his BA in History of Art at Goldsmith College specialising in Fine Art Photography; his MA in Museum and Gallery Management, City University, London; awarded an Arts Humanities Research Council (AHRC), he completed a MA in Photography at Nottingham Trent University.

Hussain has been recipient of numerous awards and commissions including, Ikon Gallery, New Art Exchange, Arts Council England, Arts Humanities Research Council; he has also been winner of the Curators Choice Award, Culture Cloud at New Art Exchange and of Format 13 Portfolio Review Award for most significant review. Hussain was selected as the 2015 Light Work + Autograph ABP Artist-in-Residence, and chosen from 500 international artists to be ‘discovery artist’ under the prestigious Discoveries Award in 2016 at Houston FotoFest.

Hussain has published four artist books. His You Get Me? series is published by MACK books with the support of Arts Council England winning the Light Work Photobook Award for 2017. Going Back to Where I Came From is being published by Ikon Gallery, supported by Arts Council England and The British Council. The Quiet Town of Tipton was published by Dewi Lewis and commissioned by Multistory and The Commonality of Stranger published by New Art Exchange supported by Arts Council England.

Hussain’s You Get Me? series debut in the UK at Autograph ABP, London in 2017, curated by Mark Sealy, it reached an audience in excess of 2m through print, online coverage, TV, and radio with prominent featured articles The Guardian, The Economist, The Independent, Vanity Fair, New York Time, Metro, Buzzfeed, Dazed and Confused to name a few.

Education

MA  – Photography, Nottingham Trent University 2013
MA  – Museum and Gallery Management, City University London, 2006
BA   – (Hons) in History of Art, Goldsmith College, University of London, 2002

Forthcoming

  • Impressions Gallery, Bradford, UK - You Get Me?

    You Get Me?

    Mahtab Hussain’s You Get Me? focuses on the changing identity of young, working-class Asian men in contemporary Britain. The series is an intimate portrait on negotiating masculinity, self-esteem, social identity, and religion in a multicultural society faced with high unemployment, discrimination in the workplace, and racism. Yet they identify with Britain and they have a strong sense of Britishness. Photographed over a nine-year period, each of the images from You Get Me? is a visual impression of England.

  • Going Back to Where I Came From - New Art Gallery, Walsall, UK

    In September 2016, Mahtab Hussain travelled to Kashmir in Pakistan; to the place where his parents had once called home. He was able to meet members of his family for the first time, including his great grandmother, and to witness the kind of life he may have lived, had history taken a different turn.

    The exhibition will present a powerful and poetic reflection on ideas of home; of belonging and displacement. It also represents a deeply emotional personal journey
    of discovery and offers a revealing insight into the people and the landscapes of
    Kashmir.

    The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated publication published by Ikon Gallery and
    supported by the British Council.

Monographs

  • You Get Me?

    Publisher: MACK/Light Work, 2017
    Embossed hardcover with gold buckram spine
    120 pages
    45 colour plates
    20o mm x 250 mm
    Hardcover, 120 pages
    ISBN: 978-1-910164-84-6
    First Edition

    Supported by Arts Council England


  • The Quiet Town of Tipton

    Publisher: Dewi Lewis Publishing
    Hardback
    170mm x 245mm, 96 pages, 56 colour plates
    ISBN: 978-1-907893-72-8
    Published in association with Mulitstory.

  • The Commonality Of Strangers

    Publisher: New Art Exchange
    Softback
    148.5mm x 210mm, 158 pages, 76 colour plates
    ISBN: 978-0-9560253-8-8

Commissions and Residencies

  • Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK

    Black Country Voyages – The Auspicious Journey – May – November 2016


    Lead artist for Black Country Voyages, converting the boat into The Auspicious Journey, a story of mass displacement in Pakistan in the 1960s that led to the establishment of new communities in The Black Country.

    The construction of the Mangla Dam, across the Jhelum River, between 1961 and 1967, resulted in over 280 villages and towns of Mirpur and Dadyal being submerged and over 110,000 people being displaced. Some of those affected were given work permits for Britain by the Government of Pakistan, with many making their way to find work in the Midlands or the North West. The canal system was the bloodline of industry for The Black Country and it was here many migrants came to find work.

    Hussain worked with clay and traditional photography (tin-types), to make work about people affected by the dam construction. For the artist, the significance is water – the community was displaced by water, transported by water from Pakistan, and employed to work with water.

  • Strange Cargo, Folkestone, UK

    Artist-In-Residence – Folkestone UK – September 2015

    Worked with the local Nepalese community who live close to Strange Cargo’s new venue, creating a series of portraits that reflect different generations of the Cheriton based Nepalese community and The Gurkhas’ whose historical legacy with the British Army is well known, they have been serving for over 200 years and are a highly respected community in Britain. They have an urban legend which surrounds them, and the artist wanted to explore this and the community in more depth along with commenting on colonial history. The commission resulted in a solo show 24 October – 19 December 2015.

    The exhibition was  made possible through financial support from Arts Council England and Shepway District Council.

  • Autograph ABP and Light Work, UK and USA

    Artist-In-Residence – Syracuse NY – March 2015

    Awarded prestigious residency under Autograph ABP who are able to nominate one artist each year. Spending a month critical developing and re-mastering You Get Me? with Master Printer John Wesley Mannion.

  • New Art Exchange, Nottingham, UK

    Artist-In-Residence – Nottingham – Five month research residency

    Artist in residence as part of the Strategic Touring Fund from Arts Council England, to commission and tour The Commonality of Strangers. The commission lead to a main gallery show and will tour across two further venues in the UK.

  • Multistory, West Bromwich, UK

    Commission – The Quiet Town of Tipton  April 2013 – July 2015

    Working closely with Muslim residents in Tipton, making a series of photographic portraits of the people and places researching the impact of the Tipton Bombing on 12th July 2013.

    The portraits are accompanied by a series of texts, taken from interviews with different generations of Muslim residents living in the town. Experiences are shared about individual’s upbringings in (and in some cases arrivals to), the UK, from the 1960s to the present day.

  • Ikon Gallery - British Council – Vasl Gallery, UK and Pakistan

     Artist Exchange in Pakistan and UK

    Artist exchange programme between 3 artists from Vasl Artists’ Collective in Karachi, Pakistan and 3 artists based in Birmingham, UK.

  • mac Birmingham, UK

    Workshop – Eight Sons 

    10 week workshop with with mac Birmingham under the Arts Champion Development scheme

Talks

  • Royal Academy - Fortcoming - May 2017

    In conversation with Dr David Dibosa

  • Tate Modern – November 2016

    Presenting my fine art practice at Tate Plus.

  • Ikon Gallery – October 2016

    In conversation with Dr Frank Uekötter.

  • Strange Cargo – October 2015

    In conversation with Dr JJ Charlesworth Editor of ArtsReview.

  • Cheltenham Literary Festival – October 2015
  • Maryland Institute College of Art - March 2015

    Artist talk and lecture at MICA followed by critical feedback for 6 final years students.

  • Syracuse University - March 2015

    Artist talk and lecture about my practice.

  • Nottingham Trent University - October 2013

    Artist talk to MA students about my practice.

  • Birmingham Institute of Art and Design BIAD - October 2013

    Grain Portfolio Development Day Talk.

  • Ikon Gallery - October 2013

    International Perspective conference.

  • AMAN House, Karachi - September 2013

    Artists in Creative Education; panel discussion’ hosted by ArtNow and Vasl Artists’ Collective.

  • Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Karachi - September 2013

    Artist talk to MA students.

  • Joseph Chamberlain College, Birmingham - June 2012

    Artist talk to students.

  • South Birmingham College, Birmingham - Novemeber 2012

    Artist talk.

Solo Exhibitions

  • Autograph ABP, London, UK

    You Get Me?  – 4th May 2017

    Mahtab Hussain’s You Get Me? focuses on the changing identity of young, working-class Asian men in contemporary Britain. The series is an intimate portrait on negotiating masculinity, self-esteem, social identity, and religion in a multicultural society faced with high unemployment, discrimination in the workplace, and racism. Yet they identify with Britain and they have a strong sense of Britishness. Photographed over a nine-year period, each of the images from You Get Me? is a visual impression of England.

  • Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK

    Mitti Ka Ghar – Clay House – October – November 2016

    Mahtab Hussain presented Mitti Ka Ghar, a scaled replica of a traditional Pakistani clay house, showcasing miniature clay houses made by visitors to The Auspicious Journey this summer. The house also features a sound installation and a display of Hussain’s tintype photographic portraits, taken of people whose families were affected by the Mangla Dam construction.

  • Strange Cargo, Folkestone, UK

    Exhibition and Residency – 24 October – 10 December 2015

    The Commonality of Strangers in association with New Art Exchange
    Artist based himself in Folkestone on a residency exploring the lives of the Nepalese community home to the Sagarmatha Gurkha Community established in 2004 by retired and serving members of the British Army’s Brigade of Gurkha’s.

  • New Art Exchange, Nottingham, UK

    The Commonality of Strangers – January – April 2015

    Artist in residence as part of the strategic touring bid. Documenting the lives of the migrant community in Hyson Green. The series was exhibited in the main gallery at New Arts Exchange and included a publication, the exhibition received over 9000 visitors, making it one of the most successful exhibitions at the gallery.

    The series is available for tour and will be exhibited across two UK venues.

  • mac Birmingham, Birmingham, UK

    
What does it mean to be a British Pakistani male today? April – October 2012

    Project based exhibition addressing the complexities of the British Pakistani community, funded by Arts Council England though Grants for the Arts award.

  • Subway Gallery – Joe Strummer – London, UK

    Building Desires

    Exhibiting part of my Building Desire series.

Group Exhibitions

  • Beetle + Huxley Gallery, London, UK

    An Ideal for Living – 27 July – 17 September 2016

    An Ideal for Living is an exhibition about how photographers have perceived class, culture and identity in modern Britain. Drawing on the work of 29 diverse photographers, it considers how photographing Britain has contributed to the creation of a collective national identity. The exhibition shows the variety and creativity with which photographers have sought to document what they consider to be a particularly British way of life from the 1920s to now.

  • Houston Foto Fest - Texas, USA

    The Discoveries 12 March – 24 April

    The Discoveries exhibition is connected to one of the Biennial’s most popular programs – the International Meeting Place – Each of the ten artists has been selected as a particularly significant “discovery” by one of ten international reviewers chosen by FotoFest from the 160 curators, editors, publishers, gallery owners, and collectors who reviewed artists’ work at the 2014 Biennial Meeting Place.

    The work found in the 2016 Discoveries of the Meeting Place is a diverse selection that doesn’t shy away from difficult subject matter and new photographic approaches and techniques. It reflects the contemporary world we live in through the artists’ choice of topics and approaches.

  • Eastside Projects, Birmingham, UK

    Birmingham Show – 31 January – 11 April 2015

    Exhibited 4 pieces in the group show, which includes its external billboard.

    Birmingham Show’ is an exhibition as history and not history, connecting gaps, distances and potentials of artists who have lived, worked or studied within the city. Three key questions underpin the exhibition making – ‘What is the art of Birmingham?’ ‘Is there an accent to Birmingham’s art making?’ and ‘How is Birmingham useful for the production of art?’

    Curated by Ruth Claxton & Gavin Wade.
    Special thanks to Marlene Smith.

  • Aperture Gallery - New York City, USA

    Summer Show – 17 July – 14 August 14 2014

    103 prints selected from 860 submissions by Chris Boot, Aperture’s Executive Director, the Aperture Summer Open reflects the state of photography now.

  • 

mac Birmingham, UK

    50 Years On CCCS – 10 May – 29 June 2014

    Group show celebrating The Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies exploring how, post-closure, the Centre continues to be relevant and influential today. 
Featuring the work of eminent artists including Trevor Appleson, David Batchelor, Sarah Maple, Sarah Silverwood and Nick Waplington.

  • Library of Birmingham, UK

    The Photographers Wall – 23 January – 18 April 2014

    Launched in January 2014 the space featured works from emerging and established fine art photographers highlight the ambition and talent of some 
of the regions best photographers.

  • Sumarria Lunn Gallery, London, UK

    Be A Man – 14 March – 19 April 2013

    Group show addressing Modern Masculinity exhibiting with the following artists:
    Claude Cahun / Alexis Hunter / Ali Kazim / Littlewhitehead
    Miguel Rael / Hank Willis Thomas.

  • New Art Exchange, Nottingham, UK

    Culture Cloud – 27 July – 25 August 2012

    An inaugural exhibition showcasing the work of 40 artists selected by public vote to have their works exhibited in the New Art Exchange’ main gallery space.

    Top 40 exhibiting artist were initially selected from 900 entries.

  • Galerie Huit - Arles, France

    Open Photography Salon – 23 July -2 September

    International competition, 115 finalists, work selected from 82 participating countries 
Exhibiting during the international Arles Photography Festival.

  • Diemar/Noble Photography, Birmingham, UK

    The Gathering – Rhubarb-Rhubarb – 22 March 2012

    Invited by Rhubarb-Rhubarb to auction two photographic prints participating photographers included Brian Griffin, Martin Parr and Zed Nelson.

  • mac Birmingham, UK

    Anticurate: Exhibition Five – 3 August -11 September 2011

    Open call at mac Birmingham, devised by Trevor Pitt as a platform to explore democratic and collective approaches to exhibition curating.

  • Viewfinder Gallery, London, UK

    Viewpoints – 5 May – 15 May 2011

    An exhibition of documentary-style photographic projects with Jonathan Illingworth and Andrew Youngson

  • Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, UK

    West Midlands Open 2010 – 6 March – 2 May 2010

    A biennial collaboration between Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and Wolverhampton Art Gallery. Exhibiting artist, chosen from over 400 entries.

Collections

  • The Museum of Fine Arts - Houston

    The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, houses an encyclopedic collection of more than 65,000 works of art created throughout the world, from antiquity to the present. The Museum’s photography collection comprises more than 30,000 items spanning the full history of the medium, from invention to present day. The photography collection also includes contemporary art, collected by the museum across many areas. More than 4,000 photographers are represented in the photography collection. The department displays highlights of the collection on a rotating basis in A History of Photography: Selections from the Museum’s Collection as well as in temporary installations and special exhibitions.

  • Autograph ABP Collection

    Established in 1988 with the mission of advocating the inclusion of historically marginalised photographic practices, Autograph ABP is a charity that works internationally in photography and film, cultural identity, race, representation and human rights. Their Archive & Research Centre was established to addresses a gap in the visual representation of Britain’s cultural history and its diverse communities.

  • The Light Work Collection

    Light Work was founded as an artist-run, non-profit organization in 1973. The Light Work Collection includes over 3,500 photographs and art objects. Most former Artists-in-Residence, such as Cindy Sherman, John Gossage, Sunil Gupta, and more, are represented with early work that was made during the time of their residency. All images in the collection can be viewed online. The collection adds to the artists’ visibility and is accessed especially by friends of photography, researchers, curators, collectors, educators, and students.

  • Private Collectors

Grants and Awards

  • Inaugural Photobook Award Recipient - You Get Me?, Light Work, USA

    The Light Work Photobook Award is given each year to an artistic project that deserves international attention. As with all of Light Work’s programs, in selecting the artists to receive this recognition an emphasis is made to highlight emerging and underrepresented artists of diverse backgrounds.

  • The Discoveries Award 2016, Houston Texas, USA

    Envisioned as a showcase from some of the best work discovered at the Biennial portfolio review, the 2016 Discoveries of the Meeting Place presents work chosen by a select group of reviewers from the 2014 Meeting Place.

  • Arts Council England, UK

    Grants for the Arts – You Get Me?

    Grant to support You Get Me? publication with a series of book launches and artist talks across the country.

  • Format13 Portfolio, Derby, UK

     Review Award – March 2013

    Chosen by a group of international judges as most significant review of the day from over 80 professional photographers.

  • 
Art Humanities Research Council - AHRC, UK

    MA Funding – Photography – October 2012 – November 2013

    Full-time funded Masters at Nottingham Trent University.

  • New Art Exchange, Nottingham, UK

    Culture Cloud – Curators Choice Award

    Awarded First Prize, ‘Curators Choice Award’ from 900 entries.

  • Arts Council England, UK

    Grants for the Arts -2010

    Grant to support project based exhibition and key development stages of Building Desires and mac Birmingham exhibition.

Selected Media

  • Vanity Fair - Italia

    Four page spread featuring You Get Me?,  used as inspiration for a fictional piece of writing by award-winning writer Widad Tamimi.

  • Grazia - Middle East

    You Get Me? 4 page article with featured writing by Alison Tay.

  • Crack Magazine - 2017

    Crack Magazine – Art feature of You Get Me? commissioned essay by Alice Nicolov.
    Online and Print

  • The Guardian - 2017 - You Get Me? Featured In Pictures

    The Guardian You Get Me? Featured In Pictures.

  • Huck Magazine - 2017

    Featured and with interview and text by Michal Segalov.

  • Financial Times (UK) - May 2017

    Financial Times (UK) – May 2017 – You Get Me? Featured and text by Tom Graham.

  • The Independent - 2017

    The Independent – May 2017 – You Get Me? Featured with interview and text by Kashmira Gander.

  • Metro - 2017

    You Get Me? Featured with interview and text by Alex Hickson.

  • The Economist - 2017

    You Get Me? Featured and writing by Rahul Verma.

  • Buzz Feed - 2017

    Buzz Feed – May 2017 – You Get Me? Featured and text by Louise Ridley and Matthew Tucker.

  • The New York Times - Lens - 2017

    The New York Times – Lens – May 2017 – You Get Me? Featured in Lens with text by Jonathan Blaustein.

  • BBC World Service - 2017

    Video piece featuring You Get Me?

  • Dazed and Confused - May 2017

    You Get Me? Featured and interviewed by Niall Flynn.

  • Asian Network - The Big Debate - 2017

    Radio Interview with Qasa Alom for the BBC Asian Network.

  • BBC Radio London - 2017

    Radio interview live with Jumoke Fashola

  • Paper Journal - 2017

    Paper Journal – Interview – You Get Me? by Nina Manandhar.

  • British Journal of Photography - 2017

    British Journal of Photography – You Get Me? Featured, text by Susanna D’Aliesio.

  • Its Nice That - 2017

    Its Nice That – You Get Me? Featured with text by Bryony Stone.

  • Desi Blitz - 2017

    You Get Me? Featured and text by Eshvari Sharma.

  • Media Diversified - 2017

    You Get Me? Featured and with writing by Jamal Mehmood.
    Brown men belong in documentaries, not fine art.

  • Contact Sheet –187 Light Work Annual - 2016

    Annual publication celebrating the 2016 Light Work artist-in-residence. Feature on You Get Me? with essay by Charles Guice.

  • Arts Council England – August 2016

    Post-Brexit, with co-author Skinder Hundal, Director of New Art Exchange, composed blog discussing the crucial importance of art in creating space for empathy and understanding.

  • Strange Fire Magazine - July 2016

    Q&A with Hamidah Glasgow about my art practice and future work

  • BBC Culture – Does this image sum up Britain? - July 2016

    Review by Fiona Macdonald for An Ideal for Living.

  • TIME - 10 Things to See at FotoFest Houston – March 2016

    You Get Me? highlighted as one of the series to see in America’s longest running festival of international photography.

  • Buzz Feed News - 5 February 2016

    Full page spread online featuring my series ‘The Quiet Town of Tipton’

  • The Guardian – Muslim Ghetto – In Picture August 2015

    Muslim Ghetto series exhibited in the Photography section

  • The Huffington Post Online – February 2015

    Review by Louise Ridley ‘The Commonality of Strangers’

  • Nottingham Post – February 2015

    Review by Mark Patterson ‘The Commonality of Strangers’.

  • BBC East Midlands Today - January 2015

    Television interview with Geeta Pendse discussing my New Art Exchange commission and solo show – The Commonality of Strangers.

  • Ceasefire Magazine - January 2015

    Reflections – Displacement and Belonging: ‘Like Travelling the World by Being in One Place’

    Essay by Roger Bromley, an academic and autor who has published and written on postcolonial culture and dispora, refugee and asylum issues.

  • Source Magazine – Issue No 78. Summer 2014 – Featured Artist

    You Don’t Get Me?

    Commissioned essay by Daniel Jewesbury titled You Don’t Get Me? for SOURCE magazine featuring 8 selected works from ‘You Get Me?’

  • The Guardian – 21 April 2014

    As part of the group exhibition at mac Birmingham ’50 Years On: the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies’, my work was featured in The Guardian with a further mention in an article written by Stuart Hall.

  • Emaho Magazine – May 2013 - Online

    Online publication featuring 20 selected images from You Get Me? including artist statement.

  • L’Officiel Hommes, Spring/Summer 2013 – Be a Man! - Review

    Four double page spread featuring a selected part of my series ‘You Get Me?’

  • Aesthetica Issue 52 April/May 2013 - Be a Man! - Review

    Exhibition review by Jack Castle highlighting my ‘You Get Me?’ series.

  • Hunter Magazine, Spring/Summer 2013 – Be a Man! – Review

    Two double page spread featuring a selected part of my series ‘You Get Me?’

  • The Telegraph Online - April 2013 – 4 Star Review

    Interviewed by Louise Donovan – ‘Be a Man’ exhibition.

  • The Huffington Post Online – March 2013

    Review by Dr Michael Petry – ‘Be a Man’ exhibition.

  • Redbrick Arts – 8 June 2012

    Arts editor interview – mac Birmingham.

  • Asian Voice – 7 June 2012

    Article – mac Birmingham.

  • Birmingham Post – 23 May 2012

    Double page spread promoting exhibition and showcasing my artist practice.

  • HOTShoe Blog – 9 May 2012

    Review by Miranda Gavin, blogging arm of HotShoe contemporary photography magazine.

  • BBC Asian Network with Nihal broadcast on Friday 27 April 2012, 13:00

    BBC Asian Network with Nihal broadcast on Friday 27 April 2012, 13:00