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R&D Case Study - Mohammed Ali

Mohammed Ali Visit To Bangladesh

In February 2019, artist Mohammed Ali visited Dhaka and Sylhet:

"During my trip to Bangladesh I visited Dhaka and Sylhet over a number of weeks.  I have a personal connection with Bangladesh, as I am the son of an immigrant from Sylhet who arrived in Birmingham in the late 1950s.  Although I was born and raised in Birmingham, I have always had a connection with extended family who my parents left behind many decades ago.  Every few years my parents would take me to visit the country.  I was a teenager growing up in Britain so had little interest - to be honest, I’d rather have gone to Spain! It was only in recent times after the passing of my father, when I really began to ask questions around identity and my heritage, that I became drawn to understanding our hybrid identities.  

For me this trip was about going to the country and exploring it through a different lens. I've done the family trips growing up, but this time I wanted to explore the rich art and culture, something that has rarely been explored, certainly through an international project. 

When travelling I like to truly immerse myself, go off down the beaten path. I was able to do that in Bangladesh and find wonderful connections with local artists and musicians.  It began with me painting a mural on a friend’s building.  I used the painting of the mural to draw people in and find connections. Through this, I discovered a rich network of mural painters and artists that I am now in regular contact with.

For me Transforming Narratives is about taking control of our own narratives.  Let us tell the authentic stories of real people, and not the stories be told for you."