This exhibition is an exploration of artisan craftwork through the practice of photography. Nilupa Yasmin's work consists of beautifully handcrafted and digitally woven artworks. The artist uses this creative process as a means of contemporary storytelling to carefully interlace cultural identity, loss and belonging with her own South Asian heritage.
As a British Bangladeshi Muslim woman and artist, Yasmin preserves her family memories through craft and photography. Using the historic practice of weaving, and incorporating a traditional warp and weft pattern, Yasmin takes strips of printed photographs depicting her Bibi (paternal grandmother), her mother and herself to create intricate tapestries made from paper.
The artist showcases three projects delicately woven into one engaging exhibition: self-portraits in: ‘Grow Me A Waterlily’ her mother: ‘Shekah, to learn’ and archival imagery of her Bibi -‘Tera- A Star’. These works explore fabric, materiality and photography and tell the story of three generations of the artist’s family.
In the lead up to this exhibition Nilupa worked closely with members of the community, including Culture Club (MAC’s Older People’s Programme, Celebrating Age) to deliver a series of talks and weaving workshops using strips of photographs and fabric to create beautiful bespoke artworks, which participants could take home and keep.
While running workshops for MAC’s Culture Club members, Yasmin recognised the therapeutic benefits of the act of creating a woven piece, and the sense of belonging generated through accompanying conversation. In these unprecedented times post-lockdown, lost loved ones are remembered in various ways. For Yasmin weaving photographic strips has become a way both to grieve and a practice, to celebrate the life of her late Bibi.
This is one of 40 new projects taking place across 40 arts centres as part of Here and Now, a national and local celebration of culture within communities. Supported by Arts Council England and Future Arts Centres, marking the National Lottery’s 25th birthday.
With thanks to Arts Council England their support of this exhibition.
Nilupa Yasmin, Self-portrait, Grow Me A Waterlily, 2017