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Grandmother Muse

Saturday 4 May 2024

Cowdray Hall

British-Indian Photographer Arpita Shah will be in-conversation with Catriona McAra, Art Historian at the University of Aberdeen. This intergenerational event seeks to explore the figure of the grandmother through the medium of photography and the inherited object. The joys and challenges of creative parenthood will also be investigated as a feminist pursuit as will the post-colonial subject matter of Shah’s practice, challenging the lack of visibility of women of colour as ‘Muses’ in Western art history.

Shah’s exhibition Nalini will be on show at Duff House in Banff from 12 April to 14 July 2024. The talk is presented in association with Historic Environment Scotland and the University of Aberdeen.

’Nalini’ is a Street Level Photoworks touring exhibition presented at Duff House, in partnership with Historic Environment Scotland.


Arpita Shah is a photographic artist based in Eastbourne, UK. She works between photography and film, exploring the fields where culture and identity meet. As an India-born artist, Shah spent an earlier part of her life living between India, Ireland and the Middle East before settling in the UK. This migratory experience is reflected in her practice, which often focuses on the notion of home, belonging and shifting cultural identities.

Shah graduated from Napier University in Edinburgh in 2006. Her work has been exhibited across the UK and internationally, including at the Detroit Center of Contemporary Photography (2013); Tramway in Glasgow (2014); Chobi Mela IX in Dhaka, Bangladesh (2017); Autograph APB in London (2018) Street Level Photoworks in Glasgow (2019) Impressions Gallery in Bradford (2020) and Centre for British Photography in London (2023). She is the recipient of the 2019 Light Work + Autograph ABP Artist-in-Residence programme in Syracuse NY and her work is held at the National Galleries of Scotland, Autograph ABP and Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

Dr Catriona McAra is Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Art History at the University of Aberdeen. Catriona is author of books on feminist-surrealism (2017; 2022) and writes exhibition interpretation texts for public museums and commercial galleries. She is a long-term collaborator with artist, Ilana Halperin, and scientist, Dr Claire Cousins. Catriona is currently writing a third book on Scottish artist-women (including Alison Watt, Ali Smith and Arpita Shah).

Image credit: Nalini © Arpita Shah

Saturday 4 May 2024


Free and no booking required

Cowdray Hall

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