Gully Zine Issue 1: Taste

Page 1



Alley way Narrow passage The path between or behind buildings Part of the home yet apart; outside Echoes between houses The Unseen route The Unconventional path Dark yet direct Avoiding mud on the carpet From the street to the garden A sanctuary for cigarettes and phone calls; too true to be caught in the living room

‘Gully’ translates to alleyway in Urdu, Punjabi and Bengali.


Gully was initially born out of a love for South Asian art. As creatives and friends, we would often meet and speak about our experiences following publishing our collections, performing and working with organisations that we feel did not fully appreciate us or our differences. Time and time again we felt alienated. Gully formed out of a frustration at the lack of space and infrastructure for south Asian creatives within the UK arts scene. We were tired of manoeuvring spaces not designed for us and organisations operating myopically and sluggishly with no appreciation of how racism, islamophobia, colonialism and class can intersect to make our accommodation conditional. We decided to pool our skills and resources to make change. Gully as an organisation aims to platform, develop, connect and champion South Asian artists and creatives both locally and internationally. We believe there is room for all of us. Through gully we bring you our debut flagship multidisciplinary zine bringing authentic voices of artists of the South Asian diaspora to explore, document and navigate our connected and diverse history, identity, politics, religion, culture and spirituality. Through the gully website we will be developing an artists and organisations database, artists development opportunities and tools as well as a space for news, think pieces and research. We aim to connect creatives of the diasporas of lands currently termed Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Kashmir, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. We wish to take ownership of our narratives through the brown lens with decoloniality at the heart of our practice, to highlight what has been erased, uncover what has been lost and sound out what is often silenced. Gully is a space created by us for us. Welcome. Kamil Mahmood, Nafeesa Hamid & Rupinder Kaur

Editors notes

We talked about focusing our first series of zines on the five senses to convey the realities of identifying as south asian and interpreting that through art. We begin with TASTE . We were interested to find out what memories taste conjured up; the good, the bad and everything in between, how we experience taste, ever changing, dynamic on an individual and collective level. Food can be an integral part of our identity. The majority of the South Asian diaspora based in the UK came from farming backgrounds, but exchanged those skills for other kinds of manual labour in hospitality, textiles and industrial work. We could all tell you what our favourite food is but we rarely think about the processes involved to get that food to our homes, hands, and mouths. Through colonialism, partitition, and globalisation leading to those spices sitting in your cupboard we know that food is political. Food is resistance and resilience, but also labour. Desi food consists of a vast myriad of ingrediants, techniques and tastes throughout the subcontinent varying regionally; vegetarian, vegan and non-vegetarian. What to eat often depends on the occaision, the season, financial constraints and religious beliefs.

Street food is widely seen across the subcontinent but also areas such as Southall, Birmingham, Leicester, Bradford and Manchester where the diaspora serves its community with little shops and stalls on the streets just like how it is back Cover art:‘home’. Reezwan Rahman, Gaibhanda, Bangladesh. A labourer creating a pattern to dry the boiled paddy. one of the many processes to make riceto street food to home food to the many From agriculture

memories’ we associate with taste we bring you this zine; a small and delicious mouthful; fifteen incredible artists who we implore you to support. Enjoy.

The family spice cupboard curated by Mum - Kamil Mahmood

A nostalgic back home feeling, when you can’t tell where you are - Southall Broadway. – Rupinder Kaur

Dinner time at nani ammi’s house; just finished eating choozah/ gohngloo and roti – Nafeesa Hamid

Contents Contens

Rotting, Rotten, Rot (Act One)


Presenting Reezwan Rahman






The Bill


Pakoro Roti




Between Me and my Taste Buds: Memories and Identity


Paki Shop Sweet Shop & Rang


Street Food


The Artists




Rotting, Rotten, Rot (Act Two)




Family Pack



Ya’ Daash A Memory Voice Note

17 18 20

Rotting, Rotten, Rot By Zarah Alam

Inspired by Emily Berry’s ‘Tragedy for One Voice’ ACT ONE [Two tongues live in one mouth. TONGUE ONE stands tall, proud. TONGUE TWO squats shrivelled, on the brink of death. Sound of breathing. The occasional rasp.] TONGUE TWO: i- invader. TONGUE ONE: You’re a crafty one - you Just when I think you are long dead, silenced You come back, bringing a bad taste Coating my speech in thick layers of keema and daal And the bloody rest of the local curryshop menu. TONGUE TWO: s-stuck in her shadow. never enough - never enough room. TONGUE ONE: Our home is a shadow. Who are you speaking to? TONGUE TWO: no home - know no home. never welcome. me. TONGUE ONE: You’ve never shown yourself as worthy of welcoming. TONGUE TWO: out of practice. had no practice. TONGUE ONE: Go on then. Try what I taught you. TONGUE TWO: (slowly) peter piper... picked... a peck of .... pickled peppers TONGUE ONE: faster – Faster – FASTER –




Suppressant By JAAPY Food is a very important part of our lives. It keeps us alive, connects us with friends and our culture. I have always had a very strange relationship with food and struggle to this date. Food can be a comfort for many of us. When we are sad, lonely, anxious etc many of us will turn to our kitchen cupboards and try to find some comfort through food. When there are certain emotions that we do not know how to deal with or want to dig them away we find solace in food. Food can be a temporary filling for our problems, but does it do more harm than good if we binge eat?

There has been a brief period in my life where I was binge eating every day to bury all my emotions that I was dealing with at the time. I felt more conscious of myself and felt like the world was watching me eat this unhealthy food. Through these photos I wanted to depict the relationship that I had with food (still sometimes I struggle). Many stereotypes and do not understand the emotions behind why people binge eat or have eating disorders. Sometimes it’s a trigger in our bodies to try find some comfort, some fix for our mental health.





Dear founders, I had no intention of submitting to you this cycle as I simply could not relate to being passionate about the taste of food. My teen years featured a great deal of food insecurity, something I didn’t realise until much later when I discovered that others did not go to bed hungry. Calories were calories. The taste did not matter. I am dealing with the effects of that malnourishment to this day. Later when there was food, all that mattered at every meal were my manners. I simply could not concentrate on the food on my plate. I had to be a certain person when I ate it, especially in public. I had to appear cultured. I had to have the best table manners. Eating was stressful. Again, I could not eat enough. Now I do not have to worry about where the food comes from. My current family does not police what I eat or how I eat it. I am slowly learning to distinguish good food from bad. Right now the only taste I can distinguish clearly is love. I’m sure more revelations will follow. I am sending you a poem about how my relationship with food has changed over the years. I have tried to express the visceral hunger of my childhood that I still feel to this day and how grateful I am for the way my life has changed. Regards, Sakina Hassan



The Bill by Sakina Hassan When I was a growing girl There was never enough For my bones They had to stretch into brittleness There was never enough Of the good things Of the fresh greens Of the milk, of butter Of words that give strength and nourishment And I used up all I was born with All the good eating in my mother’s womb All the borrowed energy of childhood A debt taken from the limbs of my adult self When I was a grown-up girl There were too many eyes Always watching how I ate How far I stretched my mouth How much was on my plate Where my elbows went How I cut up the fruit of my father’s labour How I laid down my fork and my spoon The fingers I used for bread, for rice No one wants an ill brought up girl Or a woman’s shape, another mouth to feed The vultures used to look for the quietest girl A mouth sewn shut, an empty pate* I now eat what I like Each meal is a conversation Every crumb is a friend Every drop of fat, every sliver of meat The soul of every leaf I prefer to gorge myself in silence Put my elbows where I wish Open my mouth wide enough to swallow the world Return for several helpings No more accounts to draw Or debts to be paid The very worst food tasting of If nothing else, then freedom. *the English word for head (pate) is the Urdu word for stomach

Illustration by Shazmeen Khalid 09


Rotting, Rotten, Rot By Zarah Alam ACT TWO [TONGUE TWO lies flat, weaker, occasionally twitching in pain.] TONGUE ONE: You think I find it easy, that the words come free That they swim through my veins like some sort of fish? I am an untrained muscle At home in this country But misplaced into a (she spits) foreign mouth Kidnapped you could say You were born of the ancients, look at you, pathetic TONGUE TWO: both and neither, never either or, not anymore. TONGUE ONE: That’s enough from you. TONGUE TWO: (Tongue 2 Stands taller than ever) Mirchi. Kali mirch. Masala. (TONGUE ONE becomes red.) TONGUE TWO: i miss my ghar, ma, khaana TONGUE ONE: You – [They wrestle for a long while. They both lie still, ONE above TWO, slowly rotting in her mouth.] [SHE closes her mouth.]




Sunahri By Sidrah Akhtar I’m told time and time again that the motifs I find of endless fascination are common and native to other provinces than where the seeds land for example I know that guavas are native to South America but this displaced sweetness of amrood will forever taste of Pakistan to me yielding honeyed flesh and seeds I could crunch between my teeth the abundant juice running down my fingers reminding me of lemon yellow dusty mornings climbing the tree in my grandmother’s garden plenteous green pushed aside to reach skyward for shimmering fragrant gold that I would consume whole returning to England I was overjoyed to see amrood in the marketplace the chance to taste sunahri mornings again but an amrood by other name in any other country turns to stone forcing me to spit the seeds out the ras crumbling to nothing in my mouth Glossary Sunahri - golden



Family Pack By Aimen Batool These works are a statement on how utilities usually come in packs of six. A six pack of samosas, six seats around a dining table, six sets of plates and six table mats. My family which includes seven members has to often fit around a table by adding extra chairs and extra table mats or sharing things. I feel is a very common desi household occurrence.



Not-Recipe By Mehar Anaokar I imagine euphoria tastes like butter chicken you don’t use a recipe for and still get right. Somehow you manage to pour the perfect amount of doodh and ghee and tomato puree and you don’t forget to add the spoon of shakkar like you always do. My grandmother cooks like this (her intuition kneading away any need for measurements) and I have never known portions the way she knows them (in pinches, handfuls, sprinkles) until yesterday when I rolled the roundest rotis, not tearing them (not even once) and having to start over. For the first time, I was a sculptor pushing, pulling hard enough to mould but not to break. Thin enough to char but not to flake. I plucked it off the pan, flipped it onto the flame. It filled instantly with air, rising, euphoric.



Ya’daash – A memory By Sana A. Rashid These aging hands dive, Into the bowl where hazy memories live. They dip Swirling into the gates of sweet nostalgia. To relive innocent moments. The aroma of childhood is vividly clear before my thirsty eyes And it all combines, compresses Time like a pestle and mortar, mixes the green and red chillies, the cloves of garlic, the coriander To tease my tongue. It all becomes fine tuned. The soft sizzling kebabs are browning in the pan, This-the hiss of the pan This heat- heavy and the drum of the pestle A symphony. This is a joy. I taste the hubbub of the kitchen Send ripples of excitement through my bloodstream. I see amijee in her light blue salwar kameez Leading this orchestra of taste single handedly . I grab a taste of spicy powerful chutney, on the end of my fingertips. I bite the ‘fresh out of the pan’ kebab and it burns hot in my wild, eager mouth. The sun is shining gloriously outside, the kitchen-a sweet mess And this young girl, exists in this innocence, In this memory. This taste lives To become a punchy experience. Maa ki yaad, khaneh khi zaika meh hai, dil meh rehti hai, aur yadaash meh basti hai.

Illustration by Shazmeen Khalid



Voice Note By Sayera Anwar (and her Mama) After moving out of my house to a new city, and feeling lost and disconnected, I messaged my mother to send me one of her easy recipes. It was obvious: nothing else could make me feel at home like the taste of her Masalay walay khana. More recently, I had truly begun to appreciate and understand her many sacrifices. Far too often, she would spend her entire day in the kitchen, cooking delicious meals for the entire family. Too many times, she would be the last one to eat. I messaged her “Mama mujay sab se easy recipe bataye koi.” [Mama tell me the easiest recipe!] As a response, she sent me a voice note on my WhatsApp, which read like a khat (letter) in Urdu. Here goes: “Salam, Sayera beita, kya haal hain app ke? Umeed kerti hoon ke app theek hoon ge.” [Greetings my daughter, how are you doing? I am hopeful that you are doing well.] “Mein aj app ko Allu Gobi ke recipe batati hoon.” [Today I will tell you the recipe for Allu gobi.) “App pehlay pyaz ko brown karain. Phir aus ke andar tamatar dalay, namak, mirch, garlic aur sukha dhaniya.” [First, add onions, turn them brown. After that add tomatoes, salt, red pepper, garlic, and dry coriander.] “Yeh saari cheezay daalnay ke baad achi tarikay se aisay bhoon lay, jab masala ghee chord dy. Aus ka matlab hai ke

Audio bhoon gaya hai woh.” [After putting everything, roast everything properly, and when the mixture releases oil, that would mean that it has been cooked.] “Ab app ka masala tayar ho gaya hai” [Now your masala is ready.] “Phir chotay chotay aalu kaat dy, takay woh jald ghal jaye. Phir ausaay bhoonay aus masalay mein. Thora sa paani daal ly, zayada nai. Bs thora sa. Halki se agg pr rahk dy takaay aalu ghaal jaye. Aur us ke baad aus meh ghobi daal dy. Phir chamach sy doh teen chakar dy, phir halki aag pr paknay dy. Phir app ke aalu ghobi tayar ho jaye ge.” (Then, cut the potatoes into small pieces, so they can cook easily. After cutting them, mix the potatoes in the mixture and let it cook. Add water, not much, just a little. Let it cook on a low flame so that the potatoes can cook, and then add cauliflower. Then mix it with the spoon, at least thrice. And let it cook on low flame. Then your potato cauliflower will be ready. “App mujay zarur batana kesi bani, tasweer beh behjna” [Let me know how it turns out. Also, send me a picture.]




Reezwan Rahman


These photos were taken in 2020 in my hometown of Gaibandha which is well known for its crops of red chillies, bananas, rice and all kinds of vegetables. I started photography in 2015. One of my older brothers used to take photographs. He inspired me to pursue photography. I remember, when I was a teenager, I went for a walk with him. We visited our local village & photographed the people & nature. From then on, I have tried to capture the landscape and the lifestyle of my community. In 2019 I got a new camera & started as a freelance photographer. I have got a huge collection of photographs. In 2020 I got a chance to publish a photo in the UK based renowned newspaper The Times. That was my first publication in the UK.


The colour of Bangladesh

I’m Reezwan Rahman from Bangladesh. I’m 25 years old. I am a graduate of journalism and media studies from Stamford University Bangladesh.

A sugarcane farmer finding shade from the sun


I have grown up in an agriculturally based family. My father is a farmer. He is a contracted grower of Bangladesh Agriculture and Development Corporation (B.A.D.C). He grows seeds for the local people. He grows paddy, potatoes and vegetables. I have grown up seeing him work so my relationship with the land is so adjacent. I am close to the labourers & local farmers and know how they process crops, when they will be harvested and when it’s time to sell them in the market; so it’s easy for me to take photos of the farmers, labourers and the crops. Banana market


An early start. A farmer spreads wet paddy to dry it quickly





A labourer goes from village to village

collecting gourds to sell in the capital


hadows of the rice makers



Birds eye view of rice makers



Green eyed banana seller is very happy to be captured

I always take photographs with people’s consent. They feel very happy when I Sometimes they come to me with their problems and I try to give them honest a they always consider me a journalist. Sometimes they call me “ journalist broth have a mutual respect. I have the ability to work with many people. I think it’s important in feeding Bangladesh and the world. I sometimes feel international o accurately. The journalist and humanitarian in me wants to show you the reality

I capture them. Every time they inspire me with their smiling attitude. advice and a solution. They’re very pleased with me. Because of my degree her”. It feels mesmerising when you receive that kind of love from them. We important to capture their lives. They are important and their work is very organisations and NGO’s who benefit from their work do not portray their lives y of their lives. 39


The global pandemic has really affected agriculture in Bangladesh, especially earlier due to the lockdown. A lot of service holders were fired from their jobs. Food prices became higher, but food was necessary to survive so the Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, ordered everyone to grow more food on every inch of land. It has gradually become a surviving sector for the people. With the farmers protests in India currently happening I can see many similarities between some of the key issues there and in Bangladesh where international organisation undervalue the work and lives of rural farmers. I hope this can change in the future.

We got together with Reezwan Rahman via Zoom for a interview which you can listen to here.



Coins By Sundeep Kumar Hunger 2.0 Most of my coin series works are depicted with the historic events based on the year the coin was made in, but this artwork is not about a particular year. It portrays a situation which is a constant, so far.

Overlap A doughnut on a Pakistani coin to express my thoughts about western culture overlapping eastern cultures.

Slice Depicting my love for mangoes, it makes me wonder how many we (Pakistan) export every year and how many we get to eat! 43

Pakoro Roti By Saba Halepota Pakoro roti1 two words countless memories. The autumn-cum-wintery village dusk shadowing the dried excourse of Indus and all the birds that flocked there and countless others that didn’t. Pakoro roti meandering through my memories entrance to my uncle’s house his only daughter and his aging wife. Pakoro roti,is what they offered me is what my eyes sparkled at the sound of is what my uncle rushed on his scooter to get.


Pakoro roti instigating memories known to us all present, yet silent in our mourning and our celebration of all that was signified by pakoro roti.

Pakoro roti two words countless stories of naanara3, Hyd our late nana4, in each crispy pa and each bit of th warm, sweet roti.

My naani2,her house,her children her village house; our home the home we ran back to every winter every Eid every weekend. and she would order pakoro roti, whilst reminiscing of her days in Hyderabad with her many children, and many more of theirs all bunched up over a bag of pakoro roti.

Pakoro roti, sometimes with a chilli in the centre brought tears to o as it did that day, in came mama5, mami6 served, and we all devou in our simple rejo as we weaved ye story around pakoro roti

Sindhi translations Pakoro|Pakora Gram flour fritters with spices, green chilli and onions Roti Freshly baked sweet, soft and spongey bread Pakoro roti is a popular snack in villages and towns in Sindh. 2 Maternal grandmother 3 Extended family on mother’s side 4 Maternal grandfather 5 Maternal uncle 6 Maternal uncle’s wife

s derabad,

akoro, he soft, .

a whole e our eyes ,

ured oice, et another



Alley By Umair Parvez




Between Me and My Taste Buds: Memories and Identity By Anam Hussain As soon as a spoonful of fluffy Dahi Bharay touches the taste buds of my tongue, its salty-spicy aroma reaches the roof of my nasal passage, sending messages to the bulb in my brain. The distinctive and precise piquancy flavour gets instantly recognised as a match within my memory database. With each bite, I am transported back to the Dahi Bharay stall, down the side of a little gully in the glittering Anarkali bazaar of Lahore, Pakistan. Reminding my ears of the crowded city noise, clattering plates and falling spoons, even the mesmerising sights of the colourful bangle stalls comes to mind, as I continue to tuck into my mothers’ version of the recipe - all while seated in our Birmingham home. It strikes me, how my birth town comes back to me with one bite of this luscious street side snack. Distinguishing it from all other flavourings perceived in the mouth, this particular detection on the tongue connects me to a time, a place, a memory and an identity. There is nothing more Lahori than a bowl of soft fried lentil savoury balls, dunked in yoghurt, dressed with tamarind sauce, chaat masala, and topped with crunchy papdi (crispy snack). Though it didn’t start in Lahore, Dahi Bharay seem to have first appeared on Lucknow’s Awadhi cuisine menu in the 18th century. Reminiscent of the elegant Royal Nawab and Mughal glory of northern India, this cuisine is believed to be prepared by skilled Medicos. Since Lahore was part of the Mughal Empire, the recipe also gained popularity amongst Pakistan’s Lahori community. And it turned into a posh dish associated with the people of the ‘’city.’’ Evoking the most royal imagery in my mind of a throne with a Mughal garden backdrop, I often visualise been dressed as an empress while eating Dahi Bharay from a lavish bowl using gold and silver cutlery. But that “Nawabi” ambience is soon washed away with the drizzling Birmingham rain. 49


PAKI SHOP SWEET SHOP By Shazmeen Khalid Beer, cigs, movie to rent. Cheap on loo roll money well spent. Baseball bat behind the cashier bench. They talk to the blokes, Spit at your wench. Dole money spliff roll money, kids shout bud bud think it’s funny. Show us your hair, pushed off your chair, been here a while now, still stop and stare. Chippy next door, leave dog shit on the floor can’t run the shop when Dad is no more. Flooded letterbox sympathy cards and neighbour knocks choruses of sorry for your loss son cries then son scoffs, Do you miss the Paki Or the Paki Shop?



Rang I danced in neon amber light, finally, finally free of white. A decolonisation of silent skin, relieved the entrapment from within. I take conscious strides to be seen, a wardrobe full of jewelled silk salwar kameez. streaming with dhagas, claret and green and every colour in between. No cucumber sandwiches and stupid knives and forks. I ate chaval with my hands, the way it’s supposed to be eaten. I wore red, drank pink danced in colours. Free of white.

No cucumber sandwiches and stupid knives and forks. I ate chaval with my hands, the way it’s supposed to be eaten. No cucumber sandwiches and stupid knives and forks. I ate chaval with my hands, the way it’s supposed to be eaten. No cucumber sandwiches and stupid knives and forks. I ate chaval with my hands, the way it’s supposed to be eaten. No cucumber sandwiches and stupid knives and forks. I ate chaval with my hands, the way it’s supposed to be eaten. No cucumber sandwiches and stupid knives and forks. I ate chaval with my hands, the way it’s



Street food By Atik Zisan On the streets of Rajshahi, Bangladesh, street foods, cooked and served at the roadside, make each day go from gloomy to cheerfulness. It gives the streets a festive touch with colourful lights and various music. The most famous street foods in Bangladesh are Singara and Puri. Singara is fried pastry filled with potatoes and onions. It may take different forms, such as triangular (the most popular), cone shaped, or half-moon shaped. Jilapi / Jalebi is also very popular; made by deep-frying maida flour batter in a pretzel or circular shape, and then soaked in sugar syrup. Puri is a type of flatbread stuffed with lentils or mashed potatoes. I find street photography documents our time, culture, architecture, food and people. Yes, street photography is easy because it requires less equipment and streets are everywhere- but does not mean it easy to do well. I think it is most important genre of photography, because it reveals the true picture of our lifestyle at the age of false representation in the social media.


Daal puri





Fruit Market. A salesman is waiting for bu

uyers in the rain. Rajshahi, Bangladesh. 57


Tea stall. Birthplace of countless memories

Pani Puri in Covid-19

Snack Stall. The city is changing very fast. The future is uncertain for these temporary stalls.


Waiting.. A boy is waiting ,while his father is off for lunch.



Fast food Cart. Streets are decorated with various colours from food car

rt, like a food festival.



No time for waiting!

Life is for food or food is for life?

Enjoying football with daal puri


The artists 64

Zarah Alam

Birmingham, UK Twitter @zarah_writes Currently studying English and Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham. Zarah is interested in exploring the intersectionality of race, gender, and religion in her poetry and tackling difficult themes such as isolation, shame, and self-doubt. Born and bred in Birmingham, Zarah’s poems are inspired by her Pakistani roots and the multi-cultural city she lives in.


Birmingham, UK Instagram @jaaaappy Filmmaker, photographer and Artistic director of Azaad Arts. I describe myself as an artist that simply wants to create meaningful and impactful work through multiple platforms such as film and photography. My focus through my photography is to capture nature and to express my feelings, thoughts, societal issues and spark conversation.

Sakina Hassan

Lahore, Pakistan Instagram @kyascenemehjabeen She works at a library in Lahore. She enjoys crime, science and children’s fiction. She pivoted from a career in STEM to return to her creative roots (sketching, writing, advice) and does work that brings her joy. She is currently working on setting up a creative blog/advice column for modern Pakistanis struggling to reconcile cultural expectations with the realities of a brave new world. This is her first published poem.

Sidrah Akhtar

UK Instagram A Pakistani Muslim Poet based in the UK, I am a teacher by profession, and I greatly enjoy literature, photography and boxing. I enjoy writing poetry that focuses on strong imagery: an encapsulation of one moment, one feeling. I like to use poetry to answer questions or attempt to find a sense of self.

Mehar Anaokar

Birmingham, UK // Bangalore, India Instagram @Mehar.anaokar An international student studying English and Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham, she is currently the Publications Officer for Writers’ Bloc. In 2020, she was commended for her poem ‘GMT 5:30+’ for Crossed Lines’ Dial-A-Poem project and was shortlisted for the Streetcake Magazine Experimental Writing Prize. She is currently working on a poetry pamphlet for her dissertation project.

Sana. A. Rashid

Walsall, UK // Azad Kashmir, Pakistan Instagram @sana.a.rashid A British Pakistani poet and teacher. In her 20s, the questions regarding her identity and belonging increased. Her writing seeks to tackle questions of identity and belonging, recognising the beauty of bilingualism she writes in English and Urdu. As an educator, she advocates for schools to invest in literature written by BAME writers, believing representation is vital.

Aimen Batool

Lahore, Pakistan Instagram @aimentirmizi @aiment.artworks A Lahore based visual artist she received her bachelor’s in Fine Art from Kinnaird college in 2020, majoring in miniature painting. Her work has been displayed at Café Ambiance after being selected as one of the 28 emerging artists in Pakistan. Her work was also displayed in Expo centre, Lahore in 2019.

Sayera Anwar

Lahore and Islamabad, Pakistan Insta @sayera.anwar A graduate of Fine Arts from The Beaconhouse National University, Lahore. Her work takes inspiration from the act of inheriting traits, stories, narratives, and the battles that are passed from one generation to another, which she explores through different mediums.

Reezwan Rahman

Gaibandha, Bangladesh instagram @reezwan_shifat A freelance photographer and graduate of Journalism and media studies from Stamford University Bangladesh. His work captures the lives and experiences of farmers and labourers in the agricultural community he was raised in. His work was published in the Times, UK in 2020.

Sundeep Kumar

Islamkot, Sindh // Karachi, Pakistan. Instagram @sundeepartist // Facebook @sandysagar Born in Islamkot, Sindh he graduated in Fine Art from the Centre of Excellence in Art & Design, Hyderabad, majoring in Painting. He has experimented with macro photography drawn to regional coins he then painted on a larger scale to depict various events relating to the dates on these coins. He co-founded Atelier School of Art and Design in Karachi in 2018 and teaches 16–18 year olds; preparing them for higher eduction.



Saba Halepota

Karachi, Hyderabad, Sindh // Wolverhampton, Surrey, UK Instagram @sabahalepota Her poetry is inspired by classical Sindhi, Urdu and Persian poems revolving around memory, childhood, her ancestral village and grandmothers. Her poems draw upon her experience of growing up in various layers of society within Pakistan, from villages to a megacity, and also as part of a diaspora.

Umair Parvez

Lahore, Pakistan Instagram @Umairparvezz A Lahore based artist in his final year of A Levels his work often revolves around narratives depicting his emotional state as well as fictional characters and stories bringing a theatrical element to his work. He favours mediums of oil, acrylic, charcoal and graphite.

Shazmeen Khalid

Birmingham, UK Instagram @shazmeeny A writer, blogger and illustrator from Birmingham, Shazmeen publishes non-fiction work, opinion pieces and poetry on issues facing minoritised communities via her blog Misrepresented. Her work centres around challenging pre-existing narratives to encourage healthier and non-tokenistic representation. Her illustrations usually focalise a female character depicting emotions or verses from an accompanying piece of poetry.

Anam Hussain

Lahore, Pakistan // Birmingham, UK Twitter @BhamToLahore // Instagram @BirminghamtoLahore A Diaspora Journalist with a degree in English Literature and Language and a Diploma in Law. Walking between cultures, bridging belonging and exclusion. She has been featured by Al Jazeera English, Suitcase Magazine, Local Germany, Dawn News, The Express Tribune and The Asian Writer. Anam is also a linguist, translator, and publishing professional. She was Assistant Editor at British Asian web magazine DESIblitz.

Atik Zisan

Rajshahi, Bangladesh Instagram @atik_zisan A student of English Literature, Rajshahi University. He started photography as a hobby in 2010 focussing originally on Landscape, Cityscape and Macro photography. He is now an enthusiastic street photographer.


Rabb Khair Kare – Daana Paani MEMBA, Evan Giia, Nooran Sisters For Aisha (features in ‘The Sky Is Pink) Cherry Wine – Hozier Taste – Sleeping at last Khaana Khaake Song - Jagga Jasoos - Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Pritam Amitabh Bhattacharya Hey Ya - Noori Jiyein Kyun- Papon Aloo Chaat - Kailash Kher Aap Jaisa Koi - Nazia Hassan Longing - Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Khari Neem Ke Neechay - Mai Bhagi