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Gallery II

alison darnbrough

Alison Darnbrough

Overlooking the Badshahi Mosque, Lahore, Pakistan

This is the view from my artist friend Iqbal's rooftop terrace in Lahore.

The first time I saw this view was on a balmy February evening in 2006 and it almost took my breath away. The mosque was lit against a jet-black starry sky and the call to evening prayer had just begun. It was a magical evening.

I had not yet met Iqbal. I was there eating at the restaurant he runs from his home - a 300 year old haveli adorned with ancient artefacts discarded from building projects around the city. His paintings, which hang on every wall of the five floors of the building as well his studio on the ground floor, tell the stories no-one else will. He paints (with humanity and respect) the lives of the "dancing girls" of the heera mandi, the district in which Iqbal grew up and still lives.

Twenty two months after that evening, amidst a state of emergency in Pakistan which almost led to the exhibition having to be cancelled, Iqbal sat amongst some of these same paintings now hung on the walls of Gallery II, admiring from the window a different view - the pinks and turquoises of a beautiful Bradford sunset and wished he had brought his canvases to paint it.

Over the last three years I have returned to Lahore many times and seen this view in different seasons and at different times of day. Each one is beautiful.

This photograph was taken during a work trip to Pakistan in February 2009. It had been an insanely mad schedule which had included Dubai, Islamabad and Mianwali in three days but I was in Lahore and had 3 hours without meetings and dropped in to see Iqbal. We sat on the terrace overlooking the mosque in the afternoon sunshine drinking chai and chatting, as young boys played cricket below and birds soared around the minarets of the mosque. There, high above the city, life slowed down.

Returning through the hubbub of the city in the early evening rush, as the driver somehow manages to avoid crashing into a donkey cart, motorbike and car converging at an intersection, my mobile phone rings. It is a friend in England asking if I am ok. "There's rioting in Lahore", she says, "They are burning cars and demonstrating against the disqualification of the Chief Minister of the Punjab, it's all over the news here".

This says many things, both about how the media in the West portrays Pakistan and how Pakistanis themselves react to the many terrible crises in this country I have come to love. Most of all, despite it all, for those who live there, life simply goes on.

red chidgey

Red Chidgey

This is the view from my childhood bedroom, which is now occupied by the breath and pink things of my niece. Out of the window a block of flats stands where once existed a warehouse. The market space behind the flats will soon change into a neon-strip, bring your own box to pack in continental meats and cheeses, Aldi. Meanwhile, my beloved twice-a-week car boot sale looses out to gentrification. This image reminds me of memories unspoken, stains on the window and scars on my knee. Over the car park, I witness one of the most beautiful pink sunsets I have seen anywhere.

faye heller

F R Heller

This photographic montage is called Nearside .
I was brought up by the sea, and sailed as a small child until my teens.
I live in London, but my soul sits on the waves just off the Cornish coast. When I shut my eyes on the busy tube train, in the rush hour, I am back there, and always will be.
When I pass away my soul will be out at sea, probably with my grandfather.

take all belongings


David Gledhill

daily commute...

Outward journey - prep. Return journey - unfinished business

David Geldhill lives in his head.

r kaye room with a view

Rachel Kaye

This is the view of my room when you're sitting on my bed.  I've always used my bed as a space to write, the concept of a desk was one I never really took to.  Instead I always find that I work better at essays, letters and creative writing projects when I'm curled up comfortable, toes under the duvet with everything I need spread out around me.

Around ten months ago I emerged somewhat bruised from a long term relationship.  My new room, small as it is, is where I've hid out, gathering my strength.  When I unpacked my boxes I realised my father was right and that I'm not the most practical person you'll ever meet.  All that emerged from the rubble was piles and piles of books, letters, journals and music. 

Around this time my friends and I made regular trips to Ikea.  The red bookcase is a product of one of these trips.  I sat up late into the night, assembling it in the bathroom.  Lola sat watching me with her curious kitty cat stare as I pulled my hair back from my face and tried to make sense of the instructions.  So it was that in my late twenties I added `assemble a piece of flat pack furniture' to the list of `things I thought I couldn't do, but really could'.  It wobbles a bit sometimes, but I think that's kind of appropriate.

For a long time there was no view and no writing.  I spent much of my free time asleep.  Depression can do that sometimes, a phenomenon hard to explain unless you've experienced it first hand.  The nearest I can get is to say it's like a fuse blowing, the sadness and emotion gets too much and something inside of you trips blacks out into sleep.  Sensory deprivation helped me process all the changes and hurt of this time.  Now I sleep less, and when I'm gazing out, I'll probably be thinking of all the things I want to get done, writing another to-do list and arguing with myself that it's time to get moving.    


Pip Dickens

My Chateau D'If

This picture is not of the Chateau D'If of `The Count of Monte Cristo' fame, which is located in the bay of Marseilles, France, it is, however, MY Chateau D'If!

We all have places that create a yearning.. some location, or place, that is our idea of Nirvana - a destination that fulfils the spirit.  In my case it is this peninsula somewhere in the world's location, I'm afraid, must remain a secret as it is my `desert island' and not for sharing with anything other than books and passing lizards!

Dumas' Chateau D'If was a terrible place where Edmond Dantes was wrongly incarcerated and yet it became the place of his education, metamorphosis and epiphany thanks to the wise teachings of the Abbe Faria.  I see my chateau D'If as such a place - maybe not a paradise...more a personal retiros, a site of contemplation, my `university'.


Pip is currently Artist in Residence at Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Bradford

room with a view

Caroline Hick

Menston Train Station Waiting Room. West Yorkshire. UK

 I must have been around 15 years old when I realised I needed to break away from an expected future life caught up with the status of ownership: car, house husband, kids. 20 odd years later and I remain unfettered. Public transport is my regular way of getting about and the experiential opportunities this brings : frustration, reflection, surprise, engagement with others makes up a fair percentage of my time on this planet. Sometimes we may find we are alone, with time to spare and a room with perfect bathroom acoustics. This picture was taken just after my virtuoso singing performance of When You Wish Upon A Star.