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About Maryam Wahid: Zaibunnisa
Zaibunnisa is Maryam Wahid’s first major photographic exhibition in her home city of Birmingham. Zaibunnisa, meaning ‘the beauty of women’ refers to Wahid’s Mother’s birth name prior to emigrating from Pakistan to the UK in 1982 for an arranged marriage. The photographs tell the story of Wahid and her mother’s journey to Lahore in 2019; Wahid’s first-ever visit to Pakistan and her mother’s first visit in 20 years.
The artist documented their time spent together during this journey of discovery as her mother reconnected with old friends and family. They spent time exploring her family home, where Wahid reimagined what her life could have been, had she grown up in this house. The artist felt a deep, spiritual connection to the building and partiularly to her maternal family whom she had never met. The work 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.
I am completely different now. I lived in Pakistan between 1962-1982, I feel I can’t live there anymore because the atmosphere of the place and people have changed so much. Pakistan will always be in my heart because it the country I was born in, where my parents were born and where my parents rest in peace. But the UK, this is where I live, this is where my husband is from and it is where my children were born.
Nargis Wahid, formerly known as, Zaibunnisa
Supported by Arts Council England, British Council, Eversheds Sutherland, Geoff Sims Bursary, PATRIZIA, players of People's Postcode Lottery, The Roughley Trust and Transforming Narratives. Inspired by the Birmingham 2022 Festival.