At Home in the World – ‘Loving Lonely, a Conversation’ by Shagufta Iqbal

Week 2 - Birds

Week 1 - Home

Week 2 - Birds

“My children and I discussed the freedom of birds this week.  This series is dedicated to the memory of Zohra. The 8 year old Pakistani domestic maid beaten to death by her employers for releasing an expensive pet parrot from its cage. My son is also 8. On hearing the news of this young girl, I felt as though I had lost something within me, it was a crushing feeling. It is still hard to process the cruelty suffered by this young girl.  Speaking to my children about their relationship with nature and flight and freedom has been healing. Hearing through the voice of children about their fascination of birds, has allowed me into a space of imagination, hope and love. “

Week 3 - Home and Healing

Week 4 - Good Deeds

“This weeks theme, is in keeping with Eid al-adha: sacrifice and good deeds.”

Winner of the ‘Written Word’ category for our At Home in the World open call is poet Shagufta Iqbal. She examines ways in which human’s cope, connect and create, particularly in relation to motherhood and in the context of the modern-day family. Having grown up in a South Asian single-parent family, Iqbal is now raising her own two children as a single parent.

The new work, Loving Lonely, a Conversation, is inspired by slips of notes and pictures that her children and she exchange when they leave for their father’s home. She shares images each week throughout July on the Foundation’s social media platforms — enhancing the poetry and showing the ways in which love and obligation intersect with parenthood and childhood. The images will be accompanied by short poems, with Iqbal’s final commission premiering in late July. This final piece will see the creation of a poem and moving image work that discuss the triumphs and difficulties of such an environment, how care, solidarity and love are created in spaces where survival is often the overwhelming focus.

About Shagufta Iqbal

Longlisted for the Jerwood Poetry prize, Shagufta Iqbal is a poet, filmmaker, workshop facilitator, and TEDx Speaker. She is described by Gal Dem as a poet whose work ‘leaves you validated but aching – her narratives are important, heart-wrenching and relatable.’ Her poetry collection Jam Is For Girls, Girls Get Jam, has been recommended by Nikesh Shukla (editor of the 2016 best-selling The Good Immigrant) as ‘a social political masterclass in its exploration of cities, cultures, race, food and family’. She is also published in the Slam anthology with Macmilian.

In 2018 she co-founded Kiota, a support organisation for POC creatives in the South West where they run a series of mentoring and multi-disciplinary peer learning programmes. She is also the founder of the poetry collective ‘The YoniVerse’, which gives a platform to South Asian female poets, and aims to encourage young women from the South Asian community to participate in spoken word and poetry.

In 2018 she judged the Burning Eye Books BAME pamphlet competition to encourage a more diverse range of voices to break into printed spoken word. Since then she has continued to work with Burning Eye Books working with and mentoring poets through the publication and touring process.

She co-created and wrote the 2015 award winning poetry film Borders with Director Elizabeth Mizon, which has been screened at London Short Film Festival, Glasgow Short Film Festival, Encounters Film Festival, and Tongues on Fire Asian Film Festival, Athena Film Festival, Belfast Human Rights Festival. The success of the film resulted in awards for best writer and best editor at Underwire Film Festival, and winner of best experimental film with WVN Film Festival and winner of the Zealous Emerge Film prize. She is currently writing her debut novel and a second poetry collection.