Mahtab Hussain’s You Get Me? series focuses on the changing identity of young, working-class Asian men and boys 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.
The men depicted in his portraits identify as Muslim, and expressed they felt ridiculed by the constant flow of negative media representation of their lives. The title of the exhibition is a phrase that Hussain repeatedly heard in his conversations with the young men. ‘You get me?’ is an urban street expression that can sometimes be used in an aggressive way, but also expresses vulnerability and uncertainty: Do you understand me? Do you know where I’m coming from?
‘These young men face unemployment, discrimination, and racism. Yet, they identify with Britain and have a strong sense of Britishness. I didn’t want to make portraits that made you feel sorry for these young men. I wanted to show that despite the pressures, these men have still found a way to hold themselves up as proud and dignified people, albeit with complex and often conflicting identities’.
For more information on the project visit yougetme.info