First Prizes at the SOAS Audiovisual Awards!

Really chuffed to have won First Prize in the Group Film and Individual Photography categories at the SOAS Audiovisual Awards!

First Prize Group Film
Mecca2Medina: The Birth of British Islamic Hip-Hop

Supporting Statement

This proposal film is part of an ongoing project, with filmmaker Eliot Gelberg-Wilson, to realise a feature-length music documentary film about British-Islamic hip-hop through the lens of poet, faith leader, and educator, Rakin Fetuga, who founded the pioneering hip-hop group, Mecca2Medina in the 1990s.

Eliot and I met Fetuga in 2021 while volunteering at an Islamic Community Centre, Rumi’s Cave, and felt immediately captivated by his music, story, and vision to make a documentary. Over the past 6 months, we have been working with him and his wife to realise this dream by developing the storyboard, researching the history, and creating materials to find funding.

This proposal film is part of our development journey. It provides an overview of the unique and understudied cross-section of themes contained in Fetuga’s story – hip-hop, Islam and the Black experience in Britain. It demonstrates the power of music and the diversity of Islamic culture while highlighting the current of social activism running through both hip-hop and Black Islam. The film is also an illustration of how archive materials, music, and interviews could be put together to bring this story to life. We hope it allows potential collaborators and funders to see the potential of a feature-length film on British-Islamic Hip-Hop.

First Prize Individual Photography

Supporting Statement

Since 2017 I have been documenting my life through analogue photography. I am interested in capturing people in their everyday, unposed beauty. This particular collection focuses on unscripted moments of connection in relationships. I purposefully depict a range of relationships and forms of connection to highlight our varied humanity. It is an invitation to recognise the daily moments of tenderness and intimacy that we might otherwise overlook.

This collection also reflects my approach to photography. I try not to position myself as ‘a photographer’ because I don’t want my subjects to feel the presence of the camera. I often carry my camera around, but take pictures very rarely, and only in situations where I feel I have a genuine relationship to the subjects. For this reason, I mostly find myself photographing people I am already connected to, through work, friendship, or family. Those are the situations in which I feel most free and ethically permitted to take pictures. My familiarity with the subjects also means that we are almost able to ignore the camera.

You can therefore find the theme of connection both inside these images – between the subjects – and outside of them – between me and the subjects– most of whom are close friends and family. I hope these varied connections help you to meditate on your own feelings of connectedness.

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