New Gallery Oldham exhibition ‘You Get Me?’ explores race and cultural difference

Date published: 27 February 2019

This series of portrait photography focuses on the changing identity of young, working-class Asian men and boys living in the cities of Birmingham, London and Nottingham.

Over the course of a nine year period, Mahtab spoke to young Muslim men as he took portrait pictures. The topics covered in the interviews range from what it means to be a British Muslim male in today’s landscape to the media representation of their lives.

When Hussain began the portraits he ‘didn’t want to make portraits that made you feel sorry for these young men’. He wanted to show ‘that despite pressures they have still found a way to hold themselves up as proud and dignified, although with complex and often conflicting identities’.

Hussain decided to dedicate the name of his exhibition to a phrase he heard many times while speaking to his photography subjects. He says: ‘That phrase, ‘You Get Me?’ is a street expression that can sometimes be used in an aggressive way, but also expresses vulnerability and uncertainty like ‘do you understand me? And do you know where I’m coming from?’

Picture courtesy of Oldham Council

The portraits are presented with quotes from the young men themselves, telling the unique story of British Asian boyhood and manhood.

The exhibition opens on Saturday 9 March and runs until Saturday 8 June. Residents are invited to attend a special ‘In Conversation’ event with artist Mahtab Hussain from 1pm on the day.

Paul Jacques, Cabinet Member for Education and Culture, said:

“This exhibition is just another great example of the quality of art work the gallery has to offer to residents and visitors, from local and national artists.

“The photos explore race across the country and cultural differences throughout the UK.

“We are delighted to have this thought provoking piece in the gallery and we hope it will inspire people to think about other cultures.”

“We are also delighted to work in partnership with Autograph Gallery to bring this work to an Oldham audience.”

Picture courtesy of Oldham Council

‘You Get Me?’ is curated by Mark Sealey at Autograph Gallery supported using public funding from Arts Council England. 

Since 2017 the exhibition has toured around the UK and has received critical acclaim.

Gallery Oldham is open six days a week, 10am – 5pm. Last admission to all the galleries is 4.45pm.

To find out more about exhibition, or the In Conversation talk, please email or call 0161 770 4742


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