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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.
Mahtab Hussain uses photography to investigate the dynamic relationship between identity, heritage and displacement.
Born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1981, Hussain began his series You Get Me? in 2008. Hussain’s work has received wide recognition, including commissions by Ikon Gallery (Birmingham), Multistory (West Bromwich) and New Art Exchange (Nottingham). His photography has been shown internationally, and reviewed in publications such as the Guardian, the Telegraph and The Huffington Post.
His work is in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (USA). Books featuring Hussain’s work include the monographs The Quiet Town of Tipton (Dewi Lewis Publishing, 2015) The Commonality of Strangers (New Art Exchange, 2015), and You Get Me? (MACK, release date June 2017). He is currently a PhD candidate at Nottingham Trent University.
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Special thanks to Light Work in Syracuse, New York for supporting the creation of
this work during Mahtab Hussain’s Autograph ABP / Light Work Artist-in-Residence programme in 2015.
Banner images: 1)Mahtab Hussain, Red t-shirt, baseball jacket, car, from You Get Me?, 2012. Courtesy the artist. 2 and 4) You Get Me? gallery installation at Autograph, London. Photograph: Zoe Maxwell. 3) Mahtab Hussain, Green chalk stripe suit, from You Get Me?, 2017. Courtesy the artist.
Page images, from top left: 1) Mahtab Hussain, Young man asleep [detail], from the series You Get Me? 2012, Courtesy the artist . 2) Mahtab Hussain, Shemagh, beard and bling [detail], from You Get Me?, 2010. Courtesy the artist