You’re invited to take an incredible journey across the Black Country and the Punjab, as told through the eyes of young girls and women who define it. Unfamiliar with how these two locations are linked? The West Midlands and northern India are united by an identity that, although separated by thousands of miles, is characterised by a distinct and impactful culture.
The Black Country is home to one of the largest Punjabi diasporas outside of India. Though the cultural landscape has inevitably changed in the 70 years or so since Punjabi communities arrived in the UK, it’s an identity that remains at the heart of places like Wolverhampton, Walsall and West Bromwich.
In celebration of an often underrepresented culture, four female photographers – two from the UK and two from India – were brought together to share the stories of the young women who live across both areas. Jocelyn Allen, Jennifer Pattison, Andrea Fernandes and Uzma Mohsin used their distinct artistic styles to draw parallels and highlight the stories of an array of women and girls for new exhibition, Girl Gaze: Journeys Through The Punjab & The Black Country. It's the culmination of four women's experiences travelling across locations on both sides of the world; meeting the mothers, granddaughters, students, orphans and housewives of the Punjab. The resulting photography draws a beautifully earnest, intimate and perceptive picture of womanhood split between India and the diaspora.
There's so much that the exhibition explores. Finding likeness in two geographically distant experiences, Girl Gaze delves into everything from gender and identity to cultural tradition. Questions of belonging and place are probed alongside the patriarchy that shapes lives. At its heart, Girl Gaze is a body of work about women, by women, which asks what it means to be a British-Punjabi woman today.