Previous AA2A Artist

Arsha Arshad

Project summary:

Arsha Arshad lives and grew up in Birmingham (U.K's) most prominent Muslim Asian areas, I have lived here most of my life apart from my years at University in the North West, Bolton, Blackpool and a few post University years in Manchester. Here I got lost in art and an alternative lifestyle. 

My photography questions the constant conflict as to my place and role in society. As a Muslim woman these are obvious constraints that present themselves to my family and myself. Although my family moved to Birmingham from Pakistan before my siblings and I were born they have kept true to their religious beliefs and practice. This is the opposite to how I initially wanted to lead my life so therefore threw myself with force, when independent and away at University into a life of my own which predominantly complied with western culture. Western society however, caused more conflicts and hurdles for me to overcome. Apart from general racism and constant cultural stereo typing I had to fight for my rights to independence from my huge extended family then attempt to shed my history and ethics that I had been bought up with to create a life of my own.

The majority of my experiences of the Western world came from living in the North of England, the extreme freedom to do as I wanted, when I wanted led me to question more of my parents heritage and culture... The quest for further experience came full circle and resulted in a trip to Pakistan, which lasted a month. I was evidently moved by what I saw, filled with intrigue learning and excitement. My subject matters reflected my moods and led to creating projects and studies of many different aspects the Pakistani culture has to offer. However there are often contradictions of certain ethics and etiquette that are presented in Pakistani culture within a Western Society.