SiaM - Exploring Self-identity and Migration: Wajid Hussain 
An evening with Wajid Hussain 


Twelve months ago when local Poet and Artist Wajid Hussain conceived of his latest project little did he realise that it would come to fruition at a time when the UK itself stands ready to redefine its own identity.

On the 19th September, just a day after Scotland makes it’s momentous decision on independence, Wajid will introduce his latest work - SiaM’: Self-identity and Migration to an invited audience at “Makaan” in South Shields before launching the exhibition in full at the Customs House in South Shields on the 1st October 2014.

Press Release: 10 September 2014

SiaM: Exploring Self- identity and Migration:

A Personal Journey of Words and Images

An Evening with Wajid Hussain 

Friday, 19th September, 6.30 pm 

126, Talbot Road, South Shields NE34 0RG


Exhibition Opening Wednesday, 1st October, 2014 6-8pm Poetry Performance 7pm 

Customs House, Mill Dam, South Shields Tyne & Wear, NE33 1ES

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The work and exhibition follows a series of 5 distinct and diverse residencies at locations close to the Artist’s heart over a period of 8 months in Newcastle, Blackburn, Bradford and at “Makaan” in South Shields – each location close key to his family life, education, work and development as an Artist and Poet.

Growing up in a community that all too often seemed polarised and ready to define elements of his identity for him, moving away from home had a profound impact on Wajid. Living and working in other regions in England left an underlying need to understand and assert his own identity both in terms of ethnicity, and as a young British man.

This work not only answers many questions for Wajid but also through the exploratory process revealed answers to many that had remained stubbornly unasked and uncovering many more.

“For me, SiaM is about self-enquiry, identity exploration and reflection” said Wajid, “The places I have visited and the workshops held have each, in their unique ways, taken their own form and guidance. This has allowed me to explore and challenging new personal perspectives and reflect on and reconcile my own identity as a British Artist”

Wajid completes his residency on the 13th September in South Shields before sharing some of his experiences from the residencies. He will be sharing this work, inspiration and process with invited guests on the 19th September at “Makaan”, the home of ArtsConnectUK before all of the completed elements of the work - creative writing, photography and water-colour – will be put on exhibition at the Customs House in South Shields on the 1st October.

“I would like to thank Esen Kaya, Theresa Easton, Bob Beagrie and Richard Macleod whose collaboration, support and mentoring has been essential throughout the project” said Wajid, “Following on from the Custom House Exhibition, SiaM will be toured at five locations across 3 regions at The Beacon in Newcastle, Physical Impact Gym in Bradford and with Love & Etiquette in Burnley.

Esen Kaya, Customs House, South Tyneside said, “We are delighted to be supporting Wajid and helping him realise this exhibition. Wajid has been working with us for a number of years and it seems we have joined him on his journey of self- discovery and development. It is a testimony to his ambition and passion for his art, that he is opening his first big solo exhibition. It is even more exciting to know this work will travel to other venues and hopefully inspire other young artists and poets to pursue their passion too”.

Padma Rao, Director, 

ArtsConnect CiC and gallery owner, Makaan, South Shields said, “We are proud to have supported Wajid’s work which is refreshing and bold, as it shows a new perspective about the life of a young British Muslim artist and presents him just as an artist, without the adages of ‘British’ or ‘Asian’.

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A bespoke blog has been created to allow participants and public at large to follow the artist’s journey and be part of the project. More details can be found on www.siam.gallery and by following @SiaM_3D on twitter.

For all press enquiries, please contact; Steve Donkin on 07867 787142 or email sentientcapacity@hotmail.co.uk Wajid Hussain on 07944330797 or email on office@urbane.org.uk

End Notes for the editors:

The artist:

Wajid Hussain, a poet and visual artist, lives in the North-East of England with his young family.

Trained as an engineer, he is increasingly recognised for his perceptive and quirky sense of humour in his poetry. The root of his creativity flows from a love of words and language.

He has worked nationally and internationally, inspiring individuals of all ages and performed in venues both prestigious as well as local. His work has challenged and changed perceptions about issues of migration, identity as well as drawing creative flow from those who thought they had none to offer.

Collaborating artists:

Bob Beagrie has been a mentor and invaluable support through my poetic development. Bob's critical input will be to challenge and ensure that I hone and deliver the best of my poetry for this project.

Martin Hylton (Gateway Studios Project) adds an element to my performance and stage development, building towards the work that will be presented during the exhibitions. Martin also contributed the pictures taken in his studio.

Theresa Easton is a Multi-disciplined artist with vast experience in print-making and book binding. Theresa's role will be to explore inventive ways of displaying the art pieces for the exhibition.Richard McLeod, again another multi-disciplined artist. Richard's will be focusing on my photographic skills. As I will be using both digital and 35mm film to explore this theme.

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Richard Neville is not only an excellent blog developer but has also worked in the arts sector for many years, the perfect candidate to develop my online presence and engagement for SiaM.

Venues & Partners:

Rhianne Dixon, The Beacon, Newcastle A bespoke building housing business of all varieties. They have spaces available for hire and have kindly offered to host the first residency and have given access to a great studio space.

Shaban Qurban, Physical Impact Kickboxing Gym, Bradford A gym run by my former Kickboxing coach and friend. Coach Shaban has offered the space during sessions and the opportunity to work with his students during the workshops.

Rizwan Iqbal, Love & Etiquette, Burnley A fellow University Alumni, Love & Etiquette will be hosting my residency and providing exhibition space in Burnley.

Padma Rao, Makaan, South Tyneside A positive role in steering my artistic career to fruition Padma has now established Makaan. Intimate and inspiring arts space ready to host and support SiaM.

Esen Kaya, Customs House, South Tyneside Esen has been my arts mentor from the outset and this is a venue where I exhibited my first visual arts sculpture, so my connection is as sentimental as it is professional.

The Project is funded by The Arts Council England and supported by Cultpens, Reid Framing, Pizza Plaice, Pioneer's Compass Academy, Al-Ameen Honey.