Mahtab Hussain | You Get Me?

You Get Me? was photographer Mahtab Hussain’s first body of work. Inspired by his own experiences of growing up in Glasgow and then Birmingham as a young Muslim man, the series is an intimate portrait on negotiating masculinity, self-esteem, social identity and religion in a multicultural society faced with high unemployment and racism. 

In this interview, curator Louise Pearson speaks to Mahtab about the project and two works from the series which have entered the National Galleries of Scotland collection.

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This interview was conducted in February 2022.

Mahtab Hussain Shemagh, beard and bling from the series You Get Me? © Mahtab Hussain
Mahtab Hussain Pink jumper, hair design, bling from the series You Get Me? © Mahtab Hussain

Welcoming new artists to the collection 

We want to show you who lives in Scotland today and Art Fund are helping us do that. 

Census year is an opportunity to think about who isn’t in our collection. We know some of you don’t see yourself in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. We want to change that. 

There are lots of new acquisitions in Counted: Scotland's Census 2022. We hope they give you a sense of the wonderful range of people living in Scotland. 

We’ve worked with photographers from a range of backgrounds. For many of them, it’s the first time they have had their work shown in a gallery. 

We’ve got plans to do more. We’ll be commissioning new portraits over the next few years. We’re thinking about what else we can do to make it a Portrait Gallery for everyone.

We’d love to hear your views. Get in touch by emailing [email protected]org 

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You Get Me? by Mahtab Hussain (hardback)

£30.00

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You Get Me? is a photography book by British artist Mahtab Hussain that documents with a large number of portraits photographed over a nine-year period, the experiences of young working-class South Asian Muslim men in contemporary Britain and their local environments, picking up on manifest signs of multi-cultural identity.