A major new exhibition by Birmingham-based photographer Maryam Wahid documenting a journey with her mother will open at the Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) this Saturday (5 February).

The show explores the journey of Wahid’s mother through Pakistan and explores themes of identity, displacement and migration.

Award-winning artist and photographer Maryam Wahid, raised and based in Moseley, is proud to host her first major show in her home city.

Wahid’s material is autobiographical and explores her identity as a British Pakistani Muslim woman.

She expresses the origins of the Pakistani community in her hometown Birmingham by exploring her deeply rooted family history; and the mass integration of migrants within the United Kingdom. Her work explores womanhood, the history of the South Asian community in Britain and the notion of home and belonging.

Wahid’s new exhibition is entitled ‘Zaibunnisa’ – meaning ‘the beauty of women’ – and refers to her mother’s birth name prior to emigrating from Pakistan to the UK in 1982 for an arranged marriage.

The evocative photographs in the exhibition tell the story of Wahid and her mother’s journey to Lahore in 2019. This was Wahid’s first-ever trip to Pakistan and her mother’s first visit in twenty years.

Birmingham-raised photographer Maryam Wahid's new exhibition tells the story of her motherMaryam Wahid
Birmingham-raised photographer Maryam Wahid’s new exhibition tells the story of her mother’s journey through Pakistan

The artist documented a remarkable journey of discovery as she spent time with her mother who reconnected with old friends and family members.

They spent time exploring the ancestral family home, where Wahid reimagined what her life could have been, had she lived there.

Wahid said she felt “a deep, spiritual connection” to the house and particularly to her maternal family whom she had never met.

The work in the photographic exhibition at the MAC, situated inside Cannon Hill Park, addresses themes of loss, memory, displacement, identity and migration whilst importantly counterbalancing a celebratory future and the positive married life that the artist’s parents made for themselves in Birmingham.

Ahead of the opening of the exhibition on Saturday 5 February there will be a launch party at the MAC on Friday 4 February at 6-8pm. The free event is open to all and will include music and refreshments.

An artist panel discussion exploring themes from Maryam Wahid’s exhibition ‘Zaibunnisa’ to mark International Women’s Day will take place on Saturday 5 March. The all-female panel will include a variety of arts professionals to discuss intersectional ideas about race and representation from a female perspective.

Maryam Wahid’s ‘Zaibunnis’ exhibition will take place in the First Floor Gallery at the MAC on
Saturday 5 February – Monday 18 April 2022.

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