Modern Muse : by Arpita Shah, £20 + Postage

Modern Muse

£20.00 + Postage, order via Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery Shop 

GRAIN commissioned a new series of portraits by Arpita Shah that explore South Asian female identity and have launched a new publication to accompany the work.  The ‘Modern Muse’ portraits visually and conceptually explore the ever shifting identities and representations of South Asian women.   Shah draws from and subverts  Mughal and Indian miniature paintings from ancient and pre Colonial times as she examines the intersections of culture and identity, drawing on the women’s lived experiences and her own journey and life. 

In her practice Shah focuses on the notion of home, diaspora, belonging and shifting cultural identities.  Here she does this in collaboration with women who are also artists, creatives and educators based in Birmingham and the West Midlands.  The portraits were collaborative in nature and during their participation the women spoke of their own experiences.   Sections of their texts can be found in the new publication alongside the portraits. 

As part of the publication GRAIN commissioned new writing by Alina Khakoo.  ‘Modern Muse & South Asian Feminism’ explores these portraits as a collective and community within a social genre.  A further legacy for the series is the acquisition of the portraits by Birmingham Museums Trust. 

Ruth Millington was commissioned to interview Arpita Shah about ‘Modern Muse’.  The writing can be found here.

Modern Muse, £20 + Postage
Order via Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery online shop here.


About Arpita Shah:
Arpita Shah is a photographic artist and educator based in Eastbourne, UK. She works between photography and film, exploring the intersections of culture and identity. As an India-born artist, Shah spent the earlier part of her life living between India, Ireland and the Middle East before settling in the UK. This migratory experience is reflected in her practice, which often focuses on the notion of home, belonging and shifting cultural identities. Shah’s work tends to draw from Asian and Eastern mythology, using it both visually and conceptually to explore issues of cultural displacement in the South Asian diaspora.

Arpita’s work has been exhibited across the UK and internationally, including at the Detroit Center of Contemporary Photography (2013); Tramway in Glasgow (2014); Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, India (2015); Chobi Mela IX in Dhaka, Bangladesh (2017); Autograph APB in London (2018) Street Level Photoworks in Glasgow (2019) Harbour Front Centre in Toronto (2019) and Impressions Gallery in Bradford (2020). She is the recipient of the 2019 Light Work + Autograph ABP Artist-in-Residence programme in Syracuse New York and her work is held in the collections at the National Galleries of Scotland.

Image Credit – ‘Haseebah’ Modern Muse © Arpita Shah

Copyright 2016 GRAIN.