A project by Digital Women's Archive North (DWAN), supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund
Shahireh was born in Iran. She has a PhD in Pharmacy from the University of Manchester. After teaching at the University for three years she turned to writing. ‘Bazgasht’, her first novel, was published in Iran in 2011. In 2015 Commonword published it as an e-book. Commonword also published two of her flash fiction pieces in the Elevator Fiction anthology in 2016 and one of her monologues in the Sounds that Exceed 80 Decibels anthology in 2017. Her first play N+either was performed in Manchester in 2015. She also co-wrote Standing in My Own Truth, performed in Manchester and Bristol in 2016. Shahireh has performed her first one-woman show in Iran in 2017 and in Manchester in March 2018. She uses photography and filmmaking in her process of storytelling, exploring Persian cultural heritage and contemporary issues of women’s rights.
Aida was born in Tehran in 1976. She trained as a painter and graduated with a BSc in Industrial Design from the Alzahra University, Tehran. She relocated to Sweden in 2000, where she worked in theatre and in museum curation and exhibited her paintings in Sweden and Germany. She moved to the UK in 2007 to do her MA in Theatre Studies at the University of Manchester, and then a PhD there (2008-12) in Art History: ‘The Reception of Surrealism in Iranian Art and Literature’. She continues as a painter and Lecturer at the University of Manchester.
We are washed away paddy fields in the monsoon rains
Our minds flicker memories of the oppression
There and here and here and there
The ways in which they keep their position.
I am council estate scum
I am an ingrate
and my kids have a "Bad education"
I am the stuff that privilege won't buy.
Faeghe is an Iranian photographer. Born in Iran, 1982, and studying arts at university in 2007. Faeghe came to the UK 5 years ago, with the ambition to finally be able to show her photography through exhibitions. Her work focuses on women’s human rights, the enforced Hijab in Iran, and religious doctrine. She believes passionately in using her art as activism, to protest against cultural restrictions and laws oppressing women.
I am a Syrian architect and a self-taught artist interested in reflecting human experience throughout artistic lines, shapes and colours. My work deals with how a Syrian immigrant woman experiences life in the UK, trying to make sense of her evolving identity – the amalgamation and a re-creation of two cultural contexts. This constantly raises new existential questions and challenges and fuels survivor’s guilt while watching the Syrian conflict from a distance. My technique is inspired by the fast freehand drawings by which architects convey their ideas of space creation. It almost feels the hand is quicker than the thought.
Mei Yuk Wong
Mei Yuk was born in Hong Kong and lives in Manchester. She studied theology in Hong Kong, feminism in Holland and art in England. With a diverse background, she has worked in a variety of settings, including the public sector and community organisations. Her work often engages with personal, social and political issues and has been exhibited nationally and internationally.
Mahboobeh is a digital artist and theatre maker. She uses different art forms such as dance, movement and digital arts such as animation, moving image, documentary, music and drama. Mahboobeh is passionate about creating innovative and participatory pieces, using new methods to communicate untold stories. Her works have been shown internationally in Europe, Far East of Asia and she has collaborated with Manchester International Festival, awarded the Jerwood Creative Fellow in 2017, and arts organisations across Greater Manchester such as CAN, Commonword and HOME.
At her grandmother’s home in Uganda, Susan learned the traditional crafts of beadwork and stitching and the joy of colour and pattern. She knew she was born to be an artist. Her life took a different turn and eventually she had to flee her country in the face of persecution. Like so many of the asylum seekers, Susan had a long battle to get her claim properly heard and accepted, enduring months of extreme hardship and near despair. Eventually she was granted refugee status so is able to earn her own living as an NHS nurse and now it looks as if she will fulfill her artistic ambitions as well. She considers herself like a tree with many branches; her artwork reflects diversity and unity.
Johura is a female name often gifted to the utmost beautiful women in the world, whose physical appearance is but a fracture of their caring, giving and hilariously funny personalities. Those of this name tend to be the bestest of friends in perhaps, the whole entire world, and would probably cut a limb off for the people hey love.
If you are lucky enough to meet someone by this name, hold them close, lock them in your basement for the next 50 years and don't tell anyone, because sharing people by this name is a ridiculously hard thing to do. They are the women who will stand by you, no matter what, and if you let them, will change your entire life.
Those named Johura are truly brilliant, like stars they light up lives, illuminate galaxies, and quite possibly eternally blind those who aren't quite prepared for the journey they are about to embark upon.
Roxana Allison & Pablo Allison
Sister and brother Roxana and Pablo are photographers of Mexican-British origin. Their photographic practice focuses on themes of cultural displacement, migration, belonging, memory and identity. Roxana Allison (b.1980) lives and works in Manchester. She graduated from the National School of Fine Art in Mexico City in 2006. Her work has been exhibited predominantly in the United Kingdom. Pablo Allison (b. 1981) completed his degree in Documentary Photography between the London College of Communication and the University of Wales, Newport. He has exhibited his work in the United Kingdom and Mexico. Pablo currently lives and works in Mexico. Roxana and Pablo are currently working on the self-publication of their most recent collaboration titled “Operation Jurassic”, a personal photographic essay focusing on their journey through Pablo’s imprisonment from 2012 to 2013 in the United Kingdom.
I am an Iraqi currently residing in UK, and holder of an MFA in Cinematic Arts from the Red Sea Institute of Cinematic Arts (RSICA). After obtaining my Masters Degree in 2012, as a director/editor I started working as a scriptwriter for Arab Telemedia Group (ATG), the Amman based production house most known for its TV series and whose TV series, The Invasion, received an Emmy award. At this company I had the exciting opportunity to work on developing a sci-fi/drama television series, a first of its kind in the Arab world. I was assigned my second major project at ATG, his time as Main Writer for a historical fantasy series. The Last Hour in 2012 was my first film as a director. The movie won 5 awards and was nominated in 11 film festivals around the world, and screened on BBC Arabic channel. I also worked as writer for an educational children television series (a project by Rubicon Holding), as head writer for a historical crime series (a project by Spika Production Company with British historical writer), and as writer for a science TV show called Moment 1 and 2, which was screened on the Arab channel MBC TV channel in Ramadan 2016/17. Writing for film is also a great passion of mine. In the past few years, I have written three short films, one of them was selected to the Project Market Amman 2015 of the Robert Bosch Stiftung. My first feature film screenplay, Baghdad Perfume, was selected to the Rawi/Sundance Screenwriters’ Lab in 2014. I was an artist in at Leeds Beckett University, where I wrote and directed a short film called the BLACK HOUSE.
Born in Tehran, Iran, Firoozeh is a poet, author, visual artist and musician. She left Iran in 2014 to seek refuge in the UK, as an artist in exile. A member of the recognised Classical Persian Music Society, she is a Master of Classical Persian Setar and Persian song. Firoozeh has published 5 books of poems, which have been translated to German, French, Spanish and Chinese. She is a recognised visual artist by galleries and critics in Iran. Now based in Manchester, she has conducted charity and benefit concerts in conjunction with other prolific musicians for organisations such as UNICEF, and has contributed to several successful theatrical productions in Manchester with CAN, PANDA and Commonword. She is currently in the process of translating her written works into English.
I am Monika, a soul looking for inspiration in day-to-day life and art. I am Pakistani, a mother of a two year old, a current teacher in Creative English, and I hold a Masters Degree in Computer Systems & Networks. I have always been passionate about various forms of art and have tried my hand in designing jewellery, greeting cards, mixed media, and hand embroidery. For me, indulging in any kind of art form whether painting or writing poetry, is an act of meditation, and extremely essential to truly live and celebrate the moments in life.
Gloria was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She undertook her studies at Kinshasa Academy of Fine Arts, and later at Manchester College. Gloria’s practice is very varied, working in painting, drawing, photography, textiles, sculpture, and ceramics. She is exited by the creative possibilities of all materials, and participated in several projects in her country.
Ekua, born in the UK, an African Englishwoman of Irish and Nigerian descent, travelled with her adoptive parents to the Cook Islands as an infant. Returning to a Northamptonshire Boot and Shoe town on the A6 in the mid 1960s. Arriving in Manchester in the early 1990s with two young children and a raft of community arts experience. Turning 50 in 2011, Ekua refocused her arts practice on her own sculpture and filmmaking. Becoming Associate Artist with Chuck Gallery, African Modern and Contemporary Art in 2016 and Artist in Residence in Alexandra Park, Manchester in 2018. Her work reflects her passion to construct images of humanity embodying the inherent beauty of all people celebrating nation, class, gender, size, sexuality and disability, stemming from her own life experience.
Kani is an Iraqi-Kurdish artist, and lives and works in the UK. Her works reflect the controversial issues of gender and social equality in her native country, using her gender experiences to critique the absence of women’s voices. Her works aim to expose the relationship between nature and culture, and the construction of gender in society. Kani produces works in photography, installation, needle-work, video and sound, and frequently used her own hair as a material. Kani holds a Masters Degree from Middlesex University London, with Sonia Boyce as a tutor. She has participated in many exhibitions nationally and internationally including “Arising” at Reykjavik Art Museum in Iceland, project curated by Yoko Ono; “18th International Open” at (WMG) Woman Made Gallery in Chicago; and “Contemporary Visions | Video art in loop” worldwide, curated by Roberto Ronca.
Ana Lucía was born in 1963 in Guatemala, growing up during the course of its 36 year-long civil war. She left her country as a political exile in 1984 at the age 21. She has since lived and developed her practice in Costa Rica, Bulgaria, Honduras, France and the United Kingdom. She holds a BA in Applied Graphics, Sofia, Bulgaria and an MA in Computer Graphics, Goldsmiths at University of London. She is the co-founder of Armadillo Productions, a small independent video production company based in Manchester. Throughout her life Lucía’s work has been informed and shaped by her desire to contribute to social change. The focus of her early work, in both Guatemala and Bulgaria, was poster design and painting. Subsequent to earning her Masters at Goldsmiths, she began to develop work in digital media and documentary filmmaking. She spent 4 years producing Public Service and educational documentaries in Honduras. Since being based in the North West she has produced over 20 documentaries, including the award-winning The Echo of Pain of the Many about her experiences in Guatemala, and a 'Short History of Alexandra Park.' Her most recent focus has been clay modelling.
Manya is a Manchester-based artist, working in different media and materials, focusing on painting and sculpture. She loves to explore nature and landscapes, where she can express emotions and feelings through uses of huge spaces, colour and textures. She studied sculpture at the Institute of Applied Art, Damascus, Syria (2000-02), and arts and design, followed by contemporary arts practice at Manchester College (2016-18). She has exhibited at Damascus Castle Gallery (2002), Alassd Library Damascus (2004) and participated in the Syrian Festival of Art and Culture In Manchester in 2017. In Jan 2018 she jointly exhibited with her sister, Khalda Alkhmri, at Rethink Rebuild Society (Syrian Community Centre) in Manchester.
My name is Anya (Anna) Mikołajczyk (Miko-y-chick). I can say that my life is “hand made” – I carve in wood with chisels and mallet in traditional way, and I have grown up alongside hand made wooden sculptures and Polish folklore. My father taught me to carve. The artist-soul in me shouted to come out and share my ideas, my pain, as a woman and mum – with immigrant experiences, rage and my love too. I graduated from University in Poznan/Poland with Health Education Degree. I am fascinated with art therapy, feelings and making change. I am developing my own creative and coaching business. Thanks to Ekua Bayunu I have the pleasure to work in ‘Sky Studio’ and with her project ‘women hold up half the sky’. Now I put piece of my heart into the Travelling Heritage Bureau.
Khalda is an artist, working predominantly in painting. Previously she also worked as a director and coordinator of programmes for Syrian TV 2005 to 2012, and frequently exhibited her work. Khalda has a Masters degree in Fine Arts from Helwan University, Egypt. “My art work varies between the expressionist, the symbolic, and the abstract. For me, the work is always preceded by the idea, and is never random. In portraits, I focused on various being states especially in women. I wanted it to move the viewer from one mind state to another and allow for more than one interpretation depending on the viewer.” In Jan 2018 she jointly exhibited with her sister, Manya Alkhmri, at Rethink Rebuild Society (Syrian Community Centre) in Manchester.
My name is Jila, and I come from Iran, Isfahan. Isfahan is a large city, with many great artists and crafts-people producing handmade objects. I was businesswoman in Iran. I love art, and in the past I supported many artists financially. However, when I came to the UK I didn't have any money, and needed to start supporting myself. When I came to Manchester I didn't have any experience of making jewellery, but I learnt, and I love it, and many people encouraged me to make more. Now I teach others to make jewellery, and sell my own creations. I am involved in activities with the Red Cross, Women’s Voices, Yaran (Iranian community) and WAST (Women Asylum Seekers Together).
Perry Apirujee Rujirek
My name is Prae or Perry Apirujee Rujirek. I am a teacher and artist from Thailand. I finished my masters degree in Digital technology, Communications and Education at University of Manchester. I have been volunteering with Global Arts Manchester since 2017, which has inspired me to make art and contribute to the community I live in. Through Global Arts I had the opportunity to take part in 'A Room of One's Own' and 'Still I Rise' with the Travelling Heritage Bureau project. My primary focus in my art is people, so I mainly paint and take portrait pictures. I also make videos and interview people. The aesthetics of human diversity drives me to produce art. From my perspective, art is a collaboration between the artist and the people within his or her surroundings. I cherish this connection between human beings themselves, as well as their connection to nature. I believe that artistic exchanges between human-beings, nature and the artist open up room for understanding amongst people. My most recent work has been making documentary films on YouTube channel as the Co-Creator of “A Database of Beautiful People.”
Farah is a Masters student in Public International Law and a budding artist from Libya. She enjoys exploring different mediums of art, with minimum adherence to established rules. She’s passionate about using art as a medium for dialogue, bridging different disciplines and cultures through making video portraits of people, storytelling, producing paintings and literary translations. She has been volunteering with Global Arts Manchester since 2017, where she has come to interact with artists , including the Travelling Heritage Bureau project, encouraging her to find a balance between her studies, private life, and the arts. She is the Co-Director of "A Database of Beautiful People." https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXIk0stluAX4RAOQyXZd0Rw/featured
Yusra Warsama is a performance poet, actor, writer and theatre practitioner, her passions lie in creating work through play and exploration of life experiences in world we live in. Past, present and future work takes many forms, from her developing a one woman show which uses spoken word, storytelling, live art and physical expression, to ‘Grace’ (05) and ‘Make – Believe’ (09) with Quarantine, which looks at exploring theatre without focus on characters but the one to one relationship between performer and audience.
The Travelling Heritage Bureau project is being documented by the filmmaker Angelica Cabezas Pino .
Angelica is a researcher, documentary filmmaker and visual artist working with background and experience in social media, digital arts (film and photography) and Anthropological research. She has just finished her practice-based PhD in Anthropology, Media and Performance conducting research about the impact of HIV stigma in Chile, in an intersection between Visual Anthropology and Arts, at the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Manchester. As part of that project, she developed a method in which visual communication and expression become central in order to find common ground for interpretation and investigation. Through the creation and use of images, participants were able to express - in some cases for the first time - what it means to live with HIV in Chile, reaching not only academic audiences, but calling for awareness to a wide audience.