AA2A Artist

Shaista Chishty

Year:
2022-23
Social link:
Project summary:

I am a photographer and visual artist exploring visual histories and how they impact the present. I began my career working as a photojournalist, traveling and collaborating with humanitarian organisations. While this work was published and exhibited internationally, I became concerned about the problematic nature of the visual culture surrounding development work. To address these concerns and work more ethically, I embarked on an MA. Studying photographic theory & history, and discovering an interest in research led to a transformation in my practice. I have subsequently expanded to a research-led visual arts practice, experimenting with form and material while staying true to my area of interest; studying images and trying to understand the influence they have in supporting particular ideologies.

My current research project seeks to understand the influence of images we see in popular culture about Muslims, on Muslims.  I specifically explore the visual relationship between popular historic Orientalist depictions of Muslim women in 19th Century imagery with contemporary Muslim women’s self-perception and presentation. I am interested in understanding how dominant narratives and ideologies can be internalised and unconsciously recreated; something I recognised in my earlier professional photography work. I unconsciously recreated stereotypes I now find harmful. Similarly, I have observed the adoption of self-exoticising, Orientalist visual tropes in images shared by other Muslim women online.

The AA2A programme will support a period of experimentation and research to generate this new work and its dissemination. 

I am a photographer and visual artist exploring visual histories and how they impact the present. I began my career working as a photojournalist, traveling and collaborating with humanitarian organisations. While this work was published and exhibited internationally, I became concerned about the problematic nature of the visual culture surrounding development work. To address these concerns and work more ethically, I embarked on an MA. Studying photographic theory & history, and discovering an interest in research led to a transformation in my practice. I have subsequently expanded to a research-led visual arts practice, experimenting with form and material while staying true to my area of interest; studying images and trying to understand the influence they have in supporting particular ideologies.

My current research project seeks to understand the influence of images we see in popular culture about Muslims, on Muslims.  I specifically explore the visual relationship between popular historic Orientalist depictions of Muslim women in 19th Century imagery with contemporary Muslim women’s self-perception and presentation. I am interested in understanding how dominant narratives and ideologies can be internalised and unconsciously recreated; something I recognised in my earlier professional photography work. I unconsciously recreated stereotypes I now find harmful. Similarly, I have observed the adoption of self-exoticising, Orientalist visual tropes in images shared by other Muslim women online.

The AA2A programme will support a period of experimentation and research to generate this new work and its dissemination. 

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