Mahtab Hussain’s photographs explore the critical question of identity among young working-class British Asian men.
You Get Me? addresses the contested political terrain of race and representation, respect and cultural difference.
The men portrayed in Hussain’s portraits identify as Muslim, and expressed that they felt culturally ridiculed by the constant flow of derogatory media representation of their lives.
The 24 portraits in the exhibition examine how the weight of masculinity impacts the subject’s sense of self, as they navigate the complex identity formations historically placed upon them.
Hussain photographed the series over a nine-year period in Birmingham – where he grew up – stopping individuals in the street and starting conversations as he took their portrait. He later expanded the project to London and Nottingham.
A photobook of You Get Me? was published by MACK in June to coincide with the exhibition. It can be purchased online via mackbooks.co.uk
Visit the project online at mahtabhussain.com
Right-minded folk should be aware of the ‘derogatory media representation’ (as the publicity for this show mildly puts it) of the lives of ordinary Muslims. Mahtab Hussain is making waves by challenging this in his bold photography project You Get Me?, which kicked off in Birmingham in 2008 and visited London and Nottingham too, in his quest to document masculinity in his community. Subjects, for the most part, are simply presented standing -be they resplendent in bling or a Bart Simpson shirt, they seem to be defiant in their facing down of the camera. A photobook of You Get Me? will be published by MACK in June to coincide with the exhibition. Until 1 July.