How Being a British Bangladeshi has Influenced the Art I Create

I often get a lot of questions about where I’m from (or what I am), and despite the nature of the question actually being quite thought provoking, I’ve managed to boil down my answer to one simple sentence:

“I was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, but I’m from Manchester, England.”

Although some people are left a bit displeased with my answer, most people understand that I am a mixture of the two countries, cultures and lifestyles that I have been brought up in.

Being of South Asian descent gives one a very strong sense of self. However, having moved to England when I was 3, I have continually over the course of my upbringing struggled to come to terms with how to balance the ‘two parts’ of me. I was very aware of my differences to my friends around me of a different skin colour and yet my parents taught me to embrace my differences and use it as a strength. I began to understand the importance of diversity in relationships, friendship groups, in work places, in academia and more or less all walks of life. This led to me strive for a more inclusive attitude in any kind of work I created.

I wanted the work I created to represent me. I wanted people to look at my work and feel included.

The reason why I put so much thought into each piece of artwork I create is because of the messages I’m trying to promote through them. I use a lot of bold and bright colours. I experiment with drawing people of different skin colours, tones and shades. I enjoy being able to encompass such variety in the work I make. I’m constantly on the hunt for inspiration from people who stand out.

My British upbringing influences a lot of the bold choices I make in my art. My Bangladeshi upbringing influences the familiarity and warmth I create in my art.

4 Comments
  1. I can relate entirely with having been brought up embracing two different cultures being Pakistani and British myself and allowing me to infuse my ethnicity into my lifestyle, holding views and culture from my ancestors but also living and breathing England itself.

    I find it awe-inspriring and beautiful that you hold onto your origin and recreate art from it as a source of inspiration as many South Asians today tend to feel embarrassed and soley feel the need to emphasis their “Britishness” which is a shame really.

  2. Wow this is amazing! I can so relate to having a mixed set of cultures and lifestyles. Your work definitely interprets your culture in a beautiful and powerful way . What you do is amazing, you inspire people through your art. Keep it up! Thank you for sharing this.

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