Mahtab Hussain

9 Mar - 8 Jun 2019

Free entry

Curated by Mark Sealy


Rivington Place



past exhibition

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About the exhibition

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 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.

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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. 


The Guardian
The New York Times
Vanity Fair

About the artist

British artist, Mahtab Hussain (b. 1981), explores the important relationship between identity, heritage and displacement. His themes develop through long-term research articulating a visual language that challenges the prevailing concepts of multiculturalism.

He received his BA in History of Art at Goldsmith College specialising in Fine Art Photography; his MA in Museum and Gallery Management, City University, London; awarded an Arts Humanities Research Council (AHRC), he completed a MA in Photography at Nottingham Trent University.

Hussain has been recipient of numerous awards and commissions including, Ikon Gallery, New Art Exchange, Arts Council England, Arts Humanities Research Council; he has also been winner of the Curators Choice Award, Culture Cloud at New Art Exchange and of Format 13 Portfolio Review Award for most significant review.

Hussain was selected as the 2015 Light Work + Autograph ABP Artist-in-Residence, and chosen from 500 international artists to be ‘discovery artist’ under the prestigious Discoveries Award in 2016 at Houston FotoFest. Hussain has published four artist books his You Get Me? series is published by MACK books with the support of Arts Council England winning the Light Work Photobook Award for 2017.   Read More

Going Back to Where I Came From is published by Ikon Gallery, supported by Arts Council England and The British Council. His previous publications, The Quiet Town of Tipton was published by Dewi Lewis and commissioned by Multistory and The Commonality of Strangers published by New Art Exchange.

Hussain has been featured on BBC Radio 4, BBC 4 BBC World News and published in articles from The Guardian, The Economist, The Financial Times, The Independent, Vanity Fair, New York Times, Metro, Buzzfeed, Dazed and Confused, Elephant Magazine and Aperture. Recently Hussain was featured on the prestigious BBC 4 documentary ‘What Do Artists Do All Day?’.


Visiting information on Gallery Oldham's website


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Sample Logo
Gallery Oldham

Supported by Light Work

Banner images: 1) Mahtab Hussain, Red t-shirt, baseball jacket, car, from You Get Me?, 2012. Courtesy the artist. 2) Mahtab Hussain, Green chalk stripe suit, from You Get Me?, 2017. Courtesy the artist. 

Page images, from top left: 1) Mahtab Hussain Shemagh, beard and bling [detail], from You Get Me?, 2010. Courtesy the artist. 2) Mahtab Hussain, Young man asleep [detail], from You Get Me?, 2010. Courtesy the artist. 3) Mahtab Hussain, Red t-shirt, baseball jacket, car [detail], from You Get Me?, 2012. Courtesy the artist.