On 12th July 2013, a bomb exploded close to the Kanzul Iman mosque in Tipton, West Midlands. The bomb had been packed with nails. The police reported that it was only because the bomber had incorrect information about when Friday prayers would take place that the blast did not result in mass injuries.
The Quiet Town of Tipton is a new book by Mahtab Hussain, commissioned and produced by Multistory in collaboration with Dewi Lewis Publishing. Through a series of photographic portraits and interviews, different generations of Muslim residents tell their stories of Tipton, a small town in Sandwell: once one of the most heavily industrialised towns in the Black Country.
Tipton was a natural destination for many young Muslim men and women, migrating from Pakistan and Bangladesh during the 1950s and 60s. Older generations recall their first memories of life and work in Britain and how, over the years, they have been joined by loved ones, establishing their homes, families and mosques.
Mahtab said: "I was interested in working in Tipton because of the bombing incident. I wanted to research what impact this event had on the local community and how they felt and overcame such a traumatic event. I never imagined this project would help me connect with first generation men and women who came here in the 1950s and 60s. It was a privilege and honour to hear their stories that speak of hard work, sacrifice and a great sense of pride.
This community, although traditional, is as British as they come; honest, hard working people who have built their homes, supported their families, whilst rebuilding broken Britain after the war."
Book Launch: The publication will be given to all of the people who have taken part in the project during a celebration event on Sunday 6 September, 2015, 2.30 – 3.30pm at Victoria Park, Victoria Road, Tipton, DY4 8SW. This event is part of the Tipton Community Fun Day taking place in the park - open from 11am to 6pm: free entry.
A selection of images from the book are on display at Tipton Library, Owen House, 17 Unity Walk, Tipton, DY4 8QL from 14 August to 21 September, 2015. Opening hours: Mon: 9.30 am to 6 pm; Tues, Wed & Fri: 9.30 am to 5 pm; Sat: 10 am to 2 pm; Thurs & Sun: closed.
The Quiet Town of Tipton was commissioned by Multistory, an ambitious community arts charity based in West Bromwich, as part of an ongoing body of photographic work and archive that documents life in Sandwell and the Black Country. Critically acclaimed photographers, writers and filmmakers are commissioned to work with local people to tell their stories of every day life and recent commissions have included projects by Martin Parr, Mark Power & Bruce Gilden. Multistory gratefully acknowledges the support of Arts Council England and Sandwell Council. www.multistory.org.uk
Mahtab Hussain uses photography to explore the important relationship between identity, heritage and displacement. His work has been described as articulating a visual language that challenges prevailing concepts of multiculturalism.
The book is available for sale from the Dewi Lewis website: www.dewilewis.com/products/the-quiet-town-of-tipton