Life is a journey and the ones we travel it with become humsafar. The installation is an invitation.
The installation tells a story of an immigrants journey to the UK, the desk is designed as a suitcase packed with memories, experience as well as hopes and dreams.
Once unbuckled and opened the participant enters into the world of the faceless immigrant and invited to make sense of it from their viewpoint.
An old dismantled tape recorder rattles into action and out bursts a melodious sound of poetry in the eloquent tongue of the Urdu language. Poems of loss and longing recited by local immigrant come businessmen Abdul Qayyum, invite the participant to experience a foreign language as the superior communication method.
The pop up book incites the participant to integrate with the immigrant and forces to physically interact to unravel the story.
The Musafir project has been one of journeys, not only has it been a journey to research & unravel stories of immigrants but the project has also made us question and explore our own heritage, identity and the identities of our children. The importance of telling these stories has been one of the most pressing and prominent factors, and the urge to preserve them is even more paramount.
Thank you for coming on this journey with us.
It’s been an absolute pleasure doing the Heritage programme.
We initially brainstormed ideas on immigration which led to us interviewing my father and mother . We learnt about the reasons they came to England and how it was for them . We laughed and cried at the stories, and it reminded me of my visits to Pakistan and Kashmir.
So we started by looking at different art forms, and we came across a unique art form only found In Pakistan, which was Pakistani truck art.
I remembered the bright trucks when we were there and how beautiful they were, so we based the outside of our desk on this. We looked at an art form known as decoupage, which was the method we used to complete the lid .
We added electrical items with the help of an expert artist and added a headlight, and made a 3D grill and license plate to add to our artwork .
The children focused more on the inside, and they want to look into the history of education as the home educated, and this is a subject close to their hearts.
They created a story in which they are both time travelers. Their time travelling machine is a Pakistani truck. Linking it to the outside of the desk . They are travelling to grandads’ school in Kashmir or something similar to the time. Different eras here before the Industrial Revolution. During and after it and modern-day schooling.
The art medium they are using is digital photoshop. The project has been an amazing opportunity, and we are pleased with what we have achieved.
Shugufta, Eisa and Mohsin
Since I was a child, I was fascinated by my grandad’s deeply meaningful journey from Pakistan to Bradford and further inspired me to share these untold stories with the world through this, conceptually layered installation.
These wordless, original, handmade miniatures of magnificent mountains and glorious villages invites the viewer on a journey of the significant migration process –the village life and the middle – lower class professions before migration.
The delicacy of the ladder evokes emotion, a sense of wonder, dreams, aspirations and unpredictability that lied ahead for each of them to face head on in England. The hologram captures a spontaneous combination of digital manipulation and handwork element which, puts the viewer inside a moment to experience a powerful reality, the racism, the fear, the hardship, the constant setbacks and the heartbreak.
The goal of “If Only They Knew” is to understand and appreciate their hard earned accomplishments.
In Bradford, he supported fellow migrants, making the Sweet Centre a hub for community activities. With a strong command of English, he became a spokesperson on various issues, consulted by local MPs and councillors. Despite his ties to Pakistan, he adapted to Bradford and served as the President of the Pakistan People’s Party.
He worked various jobs, eventually becoming a travel agent for PIA, assisting bereaved families with free flights to Pakistan. Captain Saab contemplated returning to Pakistan but stayed in Bradford, raising his children with a blend of traditional values and modernity. His legacy lives on as an unsung hero and integral figure in Bradford’s Pakistani community, paving the way for future generations.