While in art school in London, Mahtab Hussain, a British artist of Pakistani heritage, had become frustrated with the “simplistic narratives” which portrayed Muslims as either terrorists or refugees, and decided to do something about it. For the last nine years, Mr. Hussain has been photographing Asian Muslim communities in England, specifically young men and boys of the working-class. The resulting photo series You Get Me? ran last spring at the Autograph ABP gallery in London, and there are plans for a book.
According to the New York Times, “the pictures [explore] concepts of masculinity, radiate tension, with teardrop tattoos, leashed up pit bulls, and mad-dog stares. These poses reflected [Hussain’s] subjects’ own wishes about how they wanted to be seen.” Mr. Hussain, who had a difficult childhood, says that art can heal a person and even a community. “ I‘m a big ambassador for creativity, and how it can really develop you. It can transform you, if you put your work into it.”