New Exhibition at MAC Zaibunnisa by Maryam Wahid

“I am completely different now. I lived in Pakistan between 1962-1982, I feel I can’t live there anymore because the atmosphere of the place and people have changed so much. Pakistan will always be in my heart because it the country I was born in, where my parents were born and where my parents rest in peace. But the UK, this is where I live, this is where my husband is from and it is where my children were born.”—Nargis Wahid, formerly known as, Zaibunnisa.

Zaibunnisa is Maryam Wahid’s first major photographic exhibition in her home city of Birmingham. Zibunnisa, meaning ‘the beauty of women’ refers to Wahid’s Mother’s birth name prior to emigrating from Pakistan to the UK in 1982 for an arranged marriage. The photographs tell the story of Wahid and her mother’s journey to Lahore in 2019; Wahid’s first-ever visit to Pakistan and her mother’s first visit in 20 years.

The artist documented their time spent together during this journey of discovery as her mother reconnected with old friends and family. They spent time exploring her family home, where Wahid reimagined what her life could have been, had she grown up in this house. The artist felt a deep, spiritual connection to the building and partiularly to her maternal family whom she had never met. The work addresses themes of loss, memory, displacement, identity and migration whilst importantly counterbalancing a celebratory future and the positive married life that the artist’s parents made for themselves in Birmingham.

Special thanks to Arts Council England, British Council, Eversheds Sutherland, Geoff Sims Photography Bursary, PATRIZIA, players of People’s Postcode Lottery, The Roughley Trust and Transforming Narratives for their generous financial support. Inspired by the Birmingham 2022 Festival.

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Related Events:

Exhibition Launch PartyFri 4 February, 6-8pm | FreeJoin us for a free evening of live music and refreshments to celebrate the opening of Zaibunnisa and our other new exhibitions. Epiphania Viisuals: When Speech Is Forced Down, Art Must Speak and Little Earthquake: Nevertheless, We Persisted. Everyone welcome.

Artist Panel Discussion: Women, Representation and RaceSat 5 March, 2pm | Free, booking essentialChaired by Nicola Shipley, Director GRAIN Projects. Speakers: Maryam Wahid, Artist; Farrah Chaudhry, Writer; Cindy Sissokho, Curator, New Art Exchange.

Artist Talk & TourFri 8 April, 11am | Free, booking essentialJoin us for a guided tour in the gallery with artist Maryam Wahid and Deborah Kermode, MAC’s Artistic Director & CEO.

BSL TourThu 24 February, 1pm | Free, booking essential Join artist Olivier Jamin for a deaf-led BSL tour of the exhibition offering an insight into the artworks from a deaf artist’s perspective.

Chai and Chat with Sampad ArtsMon 14 March, 2pm | Free, booking essentialJoin us for the first of a brand-new series of informal discussion sessions led by Sampad for creative women, come along and share your thoughts on writing, poetry and the spoken word… All over a nice cuppa chai.

Transforming Narratives Mela and SymposiumSat 19 –Mon21 March | Free, online This brilliant three-day online festival showcases the work of contemporary arts and culture from Birmingham, Pakistan and Bangladesh across new art, music, film and critical discussion. All sessions are free to attend. Full details at

Sat 5 February –Mon 18 April 2022 Open Tue –Sun, 11am to 5pm & Bank Holidays Free | MAC First Floor Gallery