My Hijab is My Crown – Exhibition by Laura Gale

My Hijab is My Crown – Exhibition by Laura Gale

December 11th to December 23rd

These portraits are part of a study of young Muslim women and their interpretation of the hijab. To these girls, their headscarves make them feel liberated and give them freedom. It is most definitely their own choice to wear it.

I wanted the photographs to show the variety of shapes and styles created by each girl with their scarves. Over time, fashion and trends have influenced how the hijab is worn, and this combined with tradition, culture and an individual desire for subtle self-expression has resulted in endless unique styles. These girls are not the shapeless forms portrayed by right-wing media, but wonderfully individual, creative, and most importantly to them, modest, young women.

“My hijab is my crown. When I’m at home I don’t have it on. My hijab gives me my freedom; it doesn’t take it away.”

“Wearing a hijab in a mostly non-Muslim society may be challenging, but this is a positive point because it strengthens one’s personality.”

“I wear it to maintain modesty. In Arabic, it means ‘to cover’ – to cover beauty, which should only be seen by my family and significant other.”

“To me it means being part of something bigger, and also feeling close to others who wear hijabs.”

“I didn’t know the meaning of it when I was younger – I just wanted to look like my Mum. However, now I feel like it helps me stay within my boundaries. I like the way others admire my level of modesty. I feel respected.”

The portraits here are Chemigrams. They were originally taken using a digital camera, but then all the subsequent processes are experimental techniques using traditional photographic darkroom paper and chemicals. It is a hands-on method that produces an otherworldly aesthetic, and requires an understanding of photographic materials. Each image is an original and is dictated by a mixture of calculation and chance. They are cosmic, yet small-scale; a hybrid, but cannot be classified as either a photograph or photogram. Hard to define, and more like paintings than photographs; made up of gestured marks and analogue processes.

The portraits are presented as a typology, in a grid format where you are compelled to compare and contrast. The girls have been remade as silhouettes, but not to be shape-less, but to be shape-full. A single bold outline draws your eye to the distinctiveness of each contour, and the sometimes gravity defying folds of fabric. Taking on the appearance of an elegant Victorian cameo, you cannot tell where the scarf begins and where it ends.

Shadows Wandering – Photography Exhibition by Gunhild Thomson

Coming soon in 2020: January 6th to January 31st

Each art work consists of a series of photos taken on one sunny day in May or August 2019. The images show 2 different locations in Handsworth/Birmingham: Handsworth Park and Bacchus Park.

Starting shortly after sunrise the artist returned to the same locations at regular intervals (every 1 and ½ or every 2 hours) to take a photo from exactly the same point of view until shortly before sunset. Over the course of the day the shadows grow, shrink and grow again and wander from one side to the other.

Finding Peace Through Madness – Art Exhibition by Sajida Asif

Finding Peace Through Madness – Art Exhibition by Sajida Asif

This collection of paintings was triggered by a recent experience of profound deafness and severe tinnitus, which led to the inability to hear any human voice. Unable to communicate with anyone and being trapped in my head, the only place I found peace was in the outdoors amongst nature. It was there, I found myself picking up a paintbrush after many years to create a place where I could escape the madness of the noise in my head and finally find some peace.

Sajida Asif

Sajida Asif is a Birmingham-born artist based in Moseley. After graduating with a Masters degree in Fine Art, Sajida held exhibitions of her work both locally and abroad, with previous exhibitions held in Amsterdam, Walsall New Art Gallery and more recently a six week solo exhibition in the Coach House Gallery, Birmingham. Sajida has carried out lots of commissioned projects with schools and other organisations. These projects have involved murals, fabric hangings and art, painted benches with the Big Read and most recently an outdoor public piece as part of Stechford Art Trail 2018. Sajida has worked with many different mediums and art forms.

Artist Statement

Capturing colour is pivotal. It is always the colour I remember from my experiences of nature. Colour inspires. I strive to convey that sense of peace we can find in nature which is sometimes missing in our world. Through my artwork, I attempt to bring the outdoors inside, a place of peace we can enjoy and envisage ourselves in. Living with beautiful objects and buildings amongst  the natural world, reminds us to reconnect with nature. The underlying subject matter is always finding peace, whether it is through a landscape painting or a surreal composition. I use acrylic paints on canvas to capture the excitement of the world through my perception of it.