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Arpita Shah artist talk: Photography, community and collaboration

Wednesday 21st June 2023 VOLT

67–69 Seaside Road


BN21 3PL

Image credit: Osama, Arpita Shah, digital photograph, 2022.

The talk this month was by Arpita Shah, at the Volt gallery, in connection with her current exhibition ‘From one dream to another’, which presents collaborative work produced by Arpita Shah and a group of young men from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds in Eastbourne.

Arpita’s talk gave us a wonderful insight into her methods, approaches, and ethical considerations to community collaboration, discussing 'From one dream to another’ alongside a selection of her previous work. 

This talk was organised in collaboration with Devonshire Collective, Blue Monkey Network and Towner Eastbourne, in connection with Refugee Week 2023.  'From one dream to another' is a partnership commission by Devonshire Collective and Photoworks, supported by Arts Council England.

Arpita Shah giving her talk (Image credit: © Phoebe Wingrove)

The space used by the men's group for the project 'From one dream to another’ (Image credit Arpita Shah)

© Abbas Mohammadi

Arpita Shah is a visual artist and community arts facilitator based in Eastbourne. Her work explores where culture, heritage, and identity meet, addressing issues of cultural displacement, representation, and shifting cultural identities.  For the past 16 years, she has worked extensively with diverse communities across the UK. Her projects include Copan Chai, which involved travelling with a fully functioning tea stall throughout the Outer Hebrides inviting Asian communities to share stories and memories. In Purdah – the Scared Cloth, she collaborated with Sikh, Hindu, and Muslim women to create portraits exploring the tradition and meaning of veiling. For Portrait of Home, commissioned for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Shah worked with Scottish families who have roots in other Commonwealth Countries to make a series of family portraits. Shah’s most recent series ‘Modern Muse’ explores young British Asian female identity across the Midlands, where she combines photographic portraits with the words of each of the women she photographed.


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