Mahtab Hussain | Muslims in Toronto: Exhibition & Virtual Lecture

4 - 22 December 2021 

Mahtab Hussain in conversation with Chris Boot (virtual) recorded live: Tuesday November 30, 2021, 5pm

To view a recording of the conversation, visit here.


Exhibition Dates: Saturday, December 4 – 22, 2021

Mahtab Hussain in attendance: Saturday December 4, 2021, 2-5pm 


In partnership with Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, the Stephen Bulger Gallery is proud to collaborate with Mahtab Hussain and Chris Boot for a special exhibition in the Reading Room Gallery featuring photographs from Hussain’s series “Muslims in Toronto”. The complete “Muslims in Toronto” portfolio, and a large print from Hussain’s UK series will be on display during our exhibition.


The Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival is pleased to partner with Mahtab Hussain, Chris Boot and Stephen Bulger Gallery in the presentation of this body of work that began 15 years ago and recently occurred in the great multicultural city of Toronto.” Darcy Killeen, CONTACT Executive Director.


Mahtab Hussain is a British artist who has explored Muslim experience and identities through portrait photographs made in the streets over the last 15 years in Britain, alongside other public photography projects in the UK and abroad. In September 2021, Hussain flew to Toronto on a journey towards New York. Following the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Hussain engaged, photographed, and interviewed young people who define as Muslim on Toronto’s streets. All of Hussain’s sitters grew up after the events of 9/11. His work in Toronto became the first chapter in his project to depict Muslims in North America. For the British work, Hussain would walk the streets and meet his sitters by chance. For the North American series, Instagram has become his commons, where he meets people who identify with the project’s goals and either sit for a portrait themselves, or introduce Hussain to other sitters.


Hussain’s intention is to create visibility around the Muslim experience in art and culture, to challenge stereotypes of Muslim representation, and to create a platform for new conversations, between Muslims themselves, and between Muslims and non-Muslims. Hussain’s sitters are people, not subjects; they are full participants in the process. They offer themselves and their presence to both the photographer and the viewer, along with their stories, with both heart and urgency.


Mahtab Hussain is going beyond representing us, he is presenting us, unvarnished, with his unique lens, and in doing so he is stretching culture like few others.” Riz Ahmed, August 2021


British artist, Mahtab Hussain (b. 1981), explores the important relationship between identity, heritage and displacement. He received his BA in History of Art at Goldsmith College specialising in Fine Art Photography and his MA in Museum and Gallery Management, City University, London. He was also awarded an Arts Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and completed an MA in Photography at Nottingham Trent University.


Hussain has been recipient of numerous awards and commissions including Ikon Gallery, New Art Exchange, Arts Council England and Arts Humanities Research Council. He was also winner of the Curators Choice Award, Culture Cloud at New Art Exchange and winner of Format 13 Portfolio Review Award for most significant review. Hussain was selected as the 2015 Light Work + Autograph ABP Artist-in-Residence and was chosen from 500 international artists to be ‘discovery artist’ under the prestigious Discoveries Award in 2016 at Houston FotoFest.


Hussain has published four artist books. His You Get Me? series is published by MACK books with the support of Arts Council England, winning the Light Work Photobook Award for 2017. His book Going Back to Where I Came From is published by Ikon Gallery and supported by Arts Council England and The British Council. The Quiet Town of Tipton is published by Dewi Lewis and commissioned by Multistory. The Commonality of Stranger is published by New Art Exchange and supported by Arts Council England.


Hussain’s You Get Me? series debuted in the UK at Autograph ABP, London in 2017. Curated by Mark Sealy, the series reached an audience in excess of 2m through print, online coverage, TV, and radio with prominent featured articles in The Guardian, The Economist, The Financial Time, The Independent, Vanity Fair, New York Times, VICE, Metro, Buzzfeed, Dazed and Confused to name a few.