New discoveries: Artwork by Risham Syed

Posted on by Alice Bush.

It’s wonderful when we uncover new bits of information about our collections as has happened with an artwork within the British Empire & Commonwealth Collection (BECC).

Recent visitors to the museum store spotted the work and suggested it was by their friend, the artist Risham Syed. A quick call established that the work was indeed an early piece created in 1996 during the Lahore-based artist’s time at the Royal College of Art (RCA), London.

The artist is known for including her native city in her work and for weaving in references and connections to colonial histories. We were thrilled that she was able to provide us with some finer details and further context about the work as she explored these recurring themes.

Risham recalls:

“This was the first work I made at the RCA. I treated it like a diary where I was putting down all that I was thinking about. The photo is of my grandad who was in the British civil service.

He was an income tax commissioner who used to be a very powerful officer in those days with a few provinces under him. It got me thinking of the whole Victorian Punjabi upbringing and where it was coming from (after having seen London it was all making sense).”

Artwork by Risham Syed

As with her other works, Lahore is represented here in the form of a map of London superimposed with bits of Lahore. Proof of the personal connections she makes in her work.

We are glad to have made some connections of our own about this artwork via our networks. It highlights how important it is to keep spreading the word about the treasures that BECC holds. Who knows what further chance discoveries will be made in future…

If you can help us by providing more information about our art pieces, we would love to hear from you!

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