Maryam Wahid: Zaibunnisa at Impressions Gallery, Bradford

Courtesy the artist and Midlands Arts Centre © Maryam Wahid.

Zaibunnisa, an Urdu word meaning ‘the beauty of women’ refers to Maryam 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.

She 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.

Wahid felt a deep, spiritual connection to the building and particularly 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.

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