Osman Yousefzada



The New Life

Understanding the Role of Objects and Rituals in Marginalised Migrant Spaces

This research aims to explore the role of objects and rituals in migrant spaces through artistic practices of engagement. By their nature, often migrant communities have been marginalised and have created for themselves a somewhat closed-in community, that would appear difficult to assess and understand through empirical and documentary research. Therefore, this project aims to engage with a community in Birmingham through a more socially engaged artistic practice that would find new ethnographic approaches to understand habits,rituals and objects that have been followed and produced in the migrant community. This is explored through site-specific gathering of knowledge in closed and hard to access marginalised migrant communities such as Birmingham, predicted by 2024 to have a higher proportion of population from black and Asian communities than from white backgrounds. So as the number of migrant families is going to increase, the work is aimed to be site-specific and intergenerational. The idea is to conduct an auto-ethnographic research in Balsall Heath in Birmingham that is embedded into my an art practice, through making, materiality and performance.

This research aims also to highlight the potential of new strategies for documenting and researching the struggle of women using techniques of subverting and communicating their identity and struggle in the diaspora, for examples through knits, weaves and very intimate uses of materials. It is through collecting, analysing and redesigning these artefacts that this project aims to map and document the conditions of women, their networks of exchange and the particular spatial relation that arises of the experience of migration.


Osman Yousefzada is a British born artist. Working across multiple disciplines, his practice has expanded since launching his eponymous label in 2007, revolving around modes of storytelling, merging autobiography with fiction and ritual. His work is concerned with the representation and rupture of the migrational experience and makes reference to socio-political issues of today. These themes are explored through moving image, installations, text works, sculpture, garment making and performance. Osman’s work has been shown at the Whitechapel Gallery, Lahore Biennale, Dhaka Art Summit, along with a solo exhibition at the Ikon Gallery. He has also exhibited at the V&A, Design Museum London, The Ringling and the Cinncinati art museums in USA. His social activism and writing on marginalised communities has been published in the Guardian / Observer, British Vogue and the Business of Fashion. Osman’s work has been written about in various titles, including  the New York Times, Guardian, Vogue, Times, Dezeen, Independent, Art Newspaper, and Dazed. Osman holds a BA from SOAS and an MPhil from Cambridge University. He has been a visiting lecturer at UAL and the Birmingham School of Art and has presented as part of group/panel discussions at the Venice Architecture Biennale, Whitechapel Gallery and Facebook.

Osman Yousefzada On How Coronavirus Has Devastated His BAME Community | British Vogue


Coalitions & Solidarity | Guardian - Observer Magazine


On Racism and British Fashion | New York Times

Op-Ed | Fashion’s Darkest Truth | Opinion, Op Ed | BoF

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Ines Weizman