Once we were too
Artist Zain Haider Awan work is an ongoing documentation and exhibition of the memories, thoughts and lives of the first wave of Muslim migrants to his home city of Peterborough. These being Pakistani men predominantly from the Azad Kashmir region of Pakistan. Having worked on a variety of projects concerned with Diaspora youth and Muslims in Britian, Zain is fascinated at how spaces, places and people interact in formulating and creating sophisticated and complex identities. How these identities then become part of cultures, subcultures and where appropriate these cultures clash and collide, or indeed mix and create. Zain’s intrigue lies in how people can call spaces their own and how others can deny others of belonging.
The project expands on a lunch club which Zain used to volunteer at and was hosted in the Allama Iqbal Centre in Peterborough, where senior men departed from emasculated norms as they cook, clean and eat together. This nostalgic retelling of food and conversation developed a variety of oral stories inspired Zain to document.
‘Once we were too’ uses poetry and photography to explore the experiences of the first generation – it’s a sincere attempt to present a more authentic picture of a misrepresented community and to reimagine what places and belongings mean in a modern city, through positioning the people who live in these spaces in the forefront of the discourse.
Creative Director: Zain Haider Awan
Producer: Zain Haider Awan
Photographers: Zain Haider Awan, Saarah Ali
A digital series will be launched to coincide with the exhibition launch.