Event / 18 Feb – 19 Feb 2022

Invisible Britain - This Separated Isle Closing Weekend

Paul Sng, Zara Mader, Nicola Heywood-Thomas, Robert Law, Inès Elsa Dalal, Mymuna Soleman


Unfortunately due to adverse weather we have had to cancel tonight's screening of Poly Styrene. We hope to go ahead with events on Saturday, and you can see the revised schedule on this post.

Saturday 19 February

12.00pm - Doors open

12.15pm - In conversation with Paul Sng and Zara Mader

1.15pm - Film screening - Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché

3.30pm - Break

3.45pm - Panel Discussion: This Separated Isle

5pm - Close

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Ffotogallery are proud to present a weekend packed full of events all based around themes from our current exhibition Invisible Britain: This Separated Isle, curated by Paul Sng. These events mark the closing weekend and will be the last chance to visit the exhibition which explores concepts of ‘Britishness’, featuring a diverse range of fascinating photographic portraits of people from across the UK and their accompanying narrative stories. Make sure you get the dates in your diary!

Poly Styrene was the first woman of colour in the UK to front a successful rock band. She introduced the world to a new sound of rebellion, using her unconventional voice to sing about identity, consumerism, postmodernism, and everything she saw unfolding in late 1970s Britain, with a rare prescience. As the frontwoman of X-Ray Spex, the Anglo-Somali punk musician was also a key inspiration for the riot grrrl and Afropunk movements.

Paul Sng is a biracial British Chinese filmmaker whose work focuses on people who challenge the status quo.

Zara Mader is a Cardiff based photographer whose work includes a series of portraits of women inspired by the music of punk icon Poly Styrene.

Our panel discussion will be looking at some of the issues featured in the book, such as ‘Britishness’ and ‘separation’, and we are looking forward to exploring these with lively and informative discourse. We are privileged to be joined on the day by:

  • Paul Sng, curator of the exhibition and editor of the book
  • Robert Law, featured photographer
  • Inès Elsa Dalal, featured photographer
  • Mymuna Soleman, activist and founder of The Privilege Café.

The discussion will be moderated by Nicola Heywood-Thomas (BBC and Arts Journalist).

About Artists

Portrait of Paul Sng

Paul Sng

Paul Sng is a biracial British Chinese filmmaker and writer based in Edinburgh, Scotland, whose work is driven by methodical research, creative storytelling and a collaborative approach that strives for inclusivity and diversity in people and projects. In 2015, Paul founded Velvet Joy Productions to explore the lives and work of individuals who have been neglected, marginalised or misrepresented in the arts and media. Paul's documentaries have been broadcast on national television and screened internationally and include Sleaford Mods – Invisible Britain (2015), Dispossession: The Great Social Housing Swindle (2017), Social Housing, Social Cleansing (2018) and Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché (2021).

Portrait of Zara Mader

Zara Mader

Zara Mader a mixed race Welsh photographer and a fan of punk. Her previous work includes a project that was a response to the place Poly Styrene held in punk, linking it to her position as a photographic artist in Wales.

“Because we share the same ethnic mix I am interested in what role race played in the choices Poly Styrene made in successfully pursuing a career in punk, and whether social class had more of an effect on her choice of career. I am equally interested in her enduring influence on women today. Even though her colouring marked her out as different as did her choice of clothing in punk, she represents a group of the British population – being mixed race - that is growing in number, so I want to question what being British looks like.”

Portrait of Nicola Heywood-Thomas

Nicola Heywood-Thomas

Moderator - panel discussion

Nicola has three decades of broadcasting experience in a wide range of fields. She began her career in BBC Wales straight from university as a news researcher and subsequently worked for the Wales Today programme as a sub-editor, reporter and presenter.

She joined ITV Wales as a senior reporter and presenter and, for eighteen years, was the station’s main female news anchor. Nicola was the presenter of major live outside broadcasts, including the 1997 Assembly referendum and the first ever National Assembly election results programme. She also presented and produced features and current affairs programmes for the station, winning a BAFTA Cymru Award for Best Music Programme.

Nicola’s radio experience is similarly varied as she has presented news & current affairs programmes, a daily phone-in and many programmes on the arts for BBC Radio Wales. She has also presented a series on Radio 4 and works regularly for BBC Radio 3, broadcasting live concerts.

Portrait of Robert Law

Robert Law

Panel Discussion

Rob Law is a documentary photographer based on Ynys Môn/Anglesey.

His practice concerns documentary photography, capturing both rural and urban environments and the people within them. With so many landscape images being produced in North Wales as a whole, Rob feels that it’s important to show that this is also a place where people need to live and work. He founded The North Wales Project in 2019 to encourage and show the best documentary photography in the region. He has contributed several images in both the book and exhibition.

Portrait of Inès Elsa Dalal

Inès Elsa Dalal

Inès Elsa Dalal is an artist and educator from Birmingham, currently based in London.

Dalal specialises in documentary photography and the ethics of portraiture.

She is committed to confronting systemic injustice, such as racism and xenophobia.

Born in Nottingham (1990) to a Swiss, Italian mother and a German, Parsi (Iranian-Indian) father; her own mixed heritage informs the tenderness with which she approaches portrait sitters and the communities co-creates with.

Solo exhibition 'Here To Stay' was commissioned by the NHS just before the Windrush Scandal and has been touring the UK since 2018, despite the ongoing pandemic.

Dalal also tutors nationally and lectures internationally.

Portrait of Mymuna Soleman

Mymuna Soleman

Mymuna is Somali-Welsh graduate from Cardiff Metropolitan University completing both her

degrees, a BSc in Health and Social Care and an MSc in Applied Public Health in 2014 and 2016.

Mymuna is an activist, a poet and community champion for all issues relating to equality, diversity, race and white privilege and how people can use their privilege for good.

More recently Mymuna founded the Privilege cafe, an important and timely virtual space founded and grounded on the back of creating a safe space where voices that have been marginalised and othered for so long were now welcomed and included, respected, and listened to. Mymuna has hosted a number of successful virtual sessions since starting the Café in 2020 attracting over 5,000 people and has covered a wide range of topics with the focus of uplifting marginalised voices.

She has a huge passion for community engagement, empowering community voices, but most importantly ensuring that authentic relationships are created with policy makers to influence positive change. Mymuna hopes that this role will enable her to transfer the skills she has gained in community engagement and to build positive meaningful relationships and connections between communities and decision makers.