Blog by Aamta – Our Street Gallery Volunteer

Aamta, one of our amazing Our Street Gallery Volunteers,  is an arts graduate and has been doing all the amazing social media on this project over the last few months.

In this blog, she tells us all about her creative work, and her journey to becoming a volunteer. Aamta is now on maternity leave but hopes to rejoin us with our first volunteer baby!

My name is Aamta Tul Waheed, I am British Muslim female visual artist — based in West Yorkshire, Bradford. I work with a variety of media, often explored through relational & concept art. My practice involves exploring the stigma surrounding Muslim women within the South Asian community. I explore topics such a shame, honour and culture and effects of this on Muslim women. My practice mirrors my experiences as a British Muslim woman. Throughout my work I delve deeper into the deep-rooted issues within my community such as gendered stereotypes, the female
body, cultural tensions, and the perception’s and expectations of the Muslim women.

Since leaving my Top Up degree in July 2018, myself and my friend launched Kaur & Baleem Creatives that specialised in creative events. We have successfully organised and executed a spoken word, art and music exhibition/showcase called ‘All of the World is a Stage’ at Left Bank Leeds March 29th, 2019, and a book launch event for ‘Coffee, a Notebook and Self Love’. We also organised exhibits, workshops, artist talks and spoken word throughout August 2019 at the Yorkshire Hub sponsored by Leeds City College.

We are both South Asian women, which gave us another opportunity to help open the doors for more ethnic minorities to feel confident in sharing their passion for
their crafts. Through our events we aimed to help expose artists, writers and musicians in Yorkshire and the North of England, and to engage new audiences and demographics. Our aim was to bring exposure and create a platform for artists that belong within ethnic minority and create an equal and diverse platform.

Since COVID-19 my business was put to a halt, and unfortunately could not continue. I felt depressed and upset by this as I felt as a recent graduate I was on a role! And suddenly I did not know what to do and had to start all over again. I then applied to volunteer through Bradford Museums and Galleries and joined the Our Street Gallery social media team.

Joining Our Street Gallery exposed me to how many opportunities Bradford has for the arts and culture, compared to when I was a student through 2011-2018. Our Street Gallery gave me the motivation and inspiration to get my fingers in all the pies once again and helped me see how much I can contribute to Bradford’s art and culture. I will be shortly going on maternity leave and being a volunteer helped distracted me from all my pregnancy aches and pains.

Whilst on maternity leave, I plan on keeping in touch with Bradford Museums and Galleries with the possibilities for ‘Mummy and Baby workshops’ in the gallery; going on power walks through Lister Park, holding baby sensory workshops and mummy and baby coffee mornings.

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