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Aabidah Shah

Aabidah Shah, 2020 BA (Hons) Photography graduate, Wolverhampton School of Art, University of Wolverhampton 

Title of Piece: Digital Distancing 2020


Aabidah went from photographing her participants in the studio to photographing them via video call due to the worldwide pandemic. She carried out shoots with people all over the world, from places such as Australia, Belgium, Germany, Latvia, Norway, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia and Thailand.

The new development in Aabidah’s project has shown the influence that social media has, especially in these unsettling times, carrying out over 80 calls. The participants were unaware of what was going to happen during the call; they were just willing to help out an artist. Aabidah would have a casual conversation about the project and how she wants to keep it all-inclusive, with many cultures, religions, sexualities, genders and so on. Aabidah would casually throw into the conversation that she thinks they are beautiful and captured their candid reactions.

In the uncertainty of the pandemic, Aabidah found the kindness in friends, family, and complete strangers. The project has allowed Aabidah to highlight the importance of celebrating diversity and self-love.

Aabidah will be returning to the University as an artist in residence courtesy of the Artist Benevolent Fund. She will access to the facilities as well as a bursary of £10,000 so she will be able to continue creating positive and forward-thinking projects. She wants to work closely with the South Asian community to create awareness and highlight the importance of talking about mental health and sexual abuse. Aabidah will also be furthering her freelance business with family portraits as well as special occasions such as parties, weddings and graduations.

My Experience:

Studying at the University of Wolverhampton, School of Art has been a great experience for me. We’re based in the George Wallis (MK) building which is just short walk from the main campus. The university have provided us with access to camera equipment and fantastic facilities such as; a large studio space, dark rooms and a MAC Suite which have all contributed to me being able to create excellent work. Not to mention the continuous support from the staff. They have empathy, kindness and a genuine love for what they do. We’ve been given opportunities to visit galleries and to take part in external exhibitions too.