Here I am writing about my first exposure in a museum space. It was so exciting and scary at the same time to be able to show my work to a wider audience. When I first started to work on this artwork back in 2016 I had no idea it will lead me to exhibit at New Art Exchange in Nottingham. My friend Talha, who took the two photographs, did such a great job by capturing this beatiful man with vitiligo. I remember how I met him – it was a night out in Nottingham, and he was sitting at a bar outside on a terrace with his friends. I saw him and something was telling me to go talk to him – I didn’t know exactly why but I felt I had to do it. So I went over and asked if he wants to be my model. When we met later for a coffee I was fascinated by the beauty of his skin. Later came the idea to me to transfer the pattern of vitiligo onto a piece of cloth, examining how perception can change about a certain subject if we change the material it is being displayed on.
3 years later I reproduced the same piece of cloth, stretched on a frame like an animal skin, giving a more dramatic look to the work. It’s like superficial appearance being exposed extremely vulnerably to the viewer – but that’s how I think it’s like today: our skin colour and what we wear is the thing people see and judge upon first, putting us in a category they think those things represent. They put a label on us before even getting to know us. And I don’t mean “they” as someone not me, like I am some kind of superior person – we all do that unconsciously. The important thing is to recognise it, be aware that we are judging silently in our mind and change it. Try to don’t assume anything. Try to ask questions before giving answers. Because the truth is, we never know what that other person is like, unless we get to know him/her.
So that’s it in a nutshell. It’s been an amazing journey creating this work. The exhibition is on until the 8th September at NAE, and there are so many other incredible works exploring and reflecting on diversity. I am so proud and grateful to be part of of it.