Salma Zulfiqar is an artist who has worked on women’s rights, human rights and humanitarian issues around the world – with decades of experience working for the United Nations in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. She´s been Birmingham-based for the last few years and I´ve been admiring the projects she´s been involved with, from the Migration blanket installation, to the ARTconnects workshops she´s been offering all over the country and abroad.
The combination of art, activism and community, all with the aim of informing and empowering people, usually migrant or refugee women who are in vulnerable and precarious situations seems amazing to me, and I´m awestruck by the success with which Salma Zulfiqar has constructed and disseminated both the work and the idea across various formats (books, talks, workshops, installations) and in all parts of the city, from Foyle´s, to Grand Central, the Council House and many universities. You can see what Salma has been doing in her own website: http://www.salmazulfiqar.com/
Salma has also participated in the debate on migration in the House of Lords, contributed to policy discussions on migrants and refugees, and been chosen as one of the inspiring Birmingham ´Women Who Dared to Dream´. She is also currently a finalist for the national Asian Women of Achievement Awards 2019. The Migration Blanket installation will be exhibited at the Venice Biennale at The Palazzo Bembo on the 12th of May with an ARTconnects workshop taking place at The Palazzo Rossini.
Salma has recently created artworks based on the research by University of Warwick entitled: ‘Routes to Peace?’, based on a previous research project led by Dr Vicki Squire from the University of Warwick, Crossing the Mediterranean Sea by Boat which brings to life the stories of 10 refugee women from Syria and Africa. Salma will be speaking on ´Research, Art and the Politics of Migration´at the University of Warwick on Saturday May 16th
The ‘Routes to Peace’ project highlights the dangerous journeys the women made when crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach safety in Europe. ‘Routes to Peace? is an event in two parts; a conversation exploring research into the stories of people who have to leave their homeland in search of peace and safety, and a workshop that encourages the audience to explore these stories creatively. A workshop arising from this project will also be held in London on May 21st.
The above are the reasons why I wanted to talk to Salma and they form the basis of the conversation in the podcast below: