Mitti Di Khushboo (the smell of the land)

The first time my mom met my dad was at the airport when she arrived in Birmingham in the late 1970's. More than once I've reflected on how different my life would have been if they hadn't moved to England and I had instead been born and raised in  Panjab. 

Having become a mother myself a couple of years ago, and seeing my young nieces and nephews grow up around me, the stories of my family and their roots are something that I've felt a pressing need to record. And this has never felt more important after the passing of my grandmother in April 2018, who was the cornerstone of our family. 

In generations to come I don't want the memories of our elders to be lost, and for future generations to forget the sacrifices they made for us to have the privileged life we have now.

It is their stories of being born in India but migrating to England, the hard work and graft they put in here to make a life for their families, that I want to treasure. My mom worked in sewing factories and my dad as a taxi driver, before owning a cornershop newsagents, which they still run to this day. 

And I know this isn't just the story of my family, but one that echoes throughout migrant communities, whose families are trying to give their children a better chance to thrive.

Blast! Commission

Mitti di Khushboo was commissioned for the Blast! Photography Festival 2019 by Multistory.

In early 2018 Jaskirt first met Multistory director Emma Chetcuti, and not long after Emma offered Jaskirt the opportunity to make this work for Blast! 

Shooting on medium format, with her Mamiya RZ67, Jaskirt travelled to the different homes of her family to shoot the work. Being pregnant whilst doing this, her family were of immense help in setting up, carrying equipment and all their support to make this work happen. 

The exhibition ran during the Blast! Photography festival, from Friday 24 May – Saturday 29 June 2019.

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The launch party of the exhibition at Lightwoods House and Park, Bearwood. Filmed by Ricky Sidhu.

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The book will be updated with the old photographs from each person and made available to buy soon.


Special thanks to...

Emma Chetcuti, director of Multistory, and who on the first time of meeting with her, offered me the chance to make this work for the Blast! festival. I'm so grateful for her faith and support in my work. 

The Multistory team, especially Jenny Moore,  project manager of Blast! Festival and my work. Her understanding and sensibility working with me with a new born was something I will always be grateful for. 

Anneka French, for all her hard work, dedication and creativity in curating the show and making it all come together.

Keith Dodds for designing the story panels in the exhibition.

And of course all of my family who helped set up lights, carry equipment, write stories and find old photographs for me.  

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