British artist Mahtab Hussain (b. 1981) explores the significant relationships between identity, heritage and displacement. His themes develop through long-term research, articulating a visual language that challenges the prevailing concepts of multiculturalism.
He received his BA in History of Art at Goldsmith’s College, London, specialising in Fine Art Photography (2002); his MA in Museum and Gallery Management from City University, London (2006). He completed his MA in Photography at Nottingham Trent University in 2013, and since 2020 he is represented by MTArt Agency.
During the Covid-19 crises, and with cultural institutions closed to the public, Hussain participated in two public art projects in the heart of London. The artist contributed with two portraits for the exhibition ‘Everyday Heroes’ printed at over five metres high and displayed in the outdoor spaces around the Hayward Gallery and the Southbank Centre. The tribute to the professionals who continued working during the pandemic features Dr A Shahid, a dermatologist who continued to work while heavily pregnant, and Dr Shahid’s. Hussain’s work was also part of a major public art exhibition in King’s Cross Tunnel and the surrounding area alongside other leading international artists. Curated by Ekow Eshun and in partnership with the Fund for Global Human Rights, the exhibition faces the crippling effects of COVID-19 and its impact on marginalized communities, and the ways in which the consequences of inequality and racism have been exposed in 2020.
His ‘You Get Me?’ series focused on young working-class Asian men in contemporary Britain. The exhibition was curated by Mark Sealy and launched at Autograph ABP, London in 2017 before travelling on to Impressions Gallery, Bradford and Gallery Oldham. His ‘Going Back Home to Where I Came From’ series made in Kashmir and Pakistan explored ideas around homeland, loss, memory and the overview effect was exhibited at New Art Gallery Walsall. His ‘Honest With You’ series is about femininity, sisterhood, resistance and political defiance of British Muslim women.
Mahtab Hussain has been the recipient of numerous awards and commissions including; Ikon Gallery, Birmingham; New Art Exchange, Nottingham; Arts Council England and Arts Humanities Research Council. He was also the winner of the Curators Choice Award, Culture Cloud at New Art Exchange and Format 13 Portfolio Review Award for most significant review.
Mahtab Hussain has published several artist books. You Get Me? published by MACK books with the support of Arts Council England received the Light Work Photobook Award for 2017. Going Back Home to Where I Came From is published by Ikon Gallery, supported by Arts Council England and The British Council, among others. The artist’s work has been featured on the prestigious BBC 4 documentary ‘What Do Artists Do All Day?’ and published in articles from The Guardian, The Economist, The Financial Times, The Independent, Vanity Fair Italia, New York Times, Dazed and Confused, Elephant Magazine to name a few.
Mahtab Hussain has made two portraits for the Everyday Heroes exhibition. Printed at over five metres high and displayed in the outdoor spaces around the Hayward Gallery and the Southbank Centre. The right one features Dr A Shahid, a dermatologist who continued to work throughout the crisis, while heavily pregnant. Dr Shahid’s infant son Ember also features in the photograph.