THE MIGRATORY lives of three generations of women have been captured in a new exhibition in Bradford.

Photographer Arpita Shah went back in time by looking into her family history, focusing on her grandmother, her mother, and herself.

The 'Nalini' exhibition, held at Impressions Gallery, explores the intimacy, distance and tension between generations of India-born women that have grown up and lived across various continents and cultures.

Arpita herself spent her early years living between India, Ireland and the Middle East before settling in the UK.

The past is explored through forgotten family photographs - like the family's old Krishna Dairy Farm, below, in Nairobi - and heirlooms, like the iron suitcase her ancestors used on their move to Kenya.

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Tins of opal sweets, old photographs and passports are among many sentimental objects carefully placed around the art space.

Arpita explained: "As an Indian-born artist, I spent an earlier part of my life living between India, Ireland and the Middle East before settling in the UK. So, this migratory experience is often reflected in my practice, which centres on exploring the notion of home, belonging and shifting cultural identities.

"Nalini explores the personal and cultural issues around displacement, migration and heritage found within the South Asian diaspora.

"‘Nalini’ is my Grandmother’s name, so the project begins with her and was inspired by her. She was born in India but spent her childhood in East Africa before returning to India.

"Although I visit her in India every couple of years, I started this project because I realised how little I really knew about what she was like as a young woman, her memories, experiences and relationships. Every time I see her she gets a little frailer and more forgetful. I felt this urge to document her stories before they got lost."

The exhibition features intimate shots with hidden symbols of femininity, birth and fertility - the lotus flower - and her grandmother's favourite colour, purple.

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Arpita took the photos, described as "subtle" by the gallery's associate curator, over a few years - tracking down the bougainvillea bushes outside her mother's childhood home, the ruins of the dairy farm and finding never before seen photos in the attic.

"I hope viewers, whatever their background and wherever they come from, will find parallels with their own family story,” Arpita said.

  •  A free Meet The Artist event is taking place on February, 22, 2020 between 1pm - 2pm.Bradford Telegraph and Argus: