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This 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 trip to Pakistan and her mother’s first visit in twenty 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 lived there. The artist felt a deep, spiritual connection to the house and particularly to her maternal family whom she 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.

Special thanks to Arts Council England, British Council, Eversheds Sutherland, Geoff Sims Photography Bursary, PATRIZIA, players of People’s Postcode Lottery, The Roughley Trust and Transforming Narratives for their generous financial support. Presented as part of Birmingham 2022 Festival for the Commonwealth Games.

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