Artists in Conversation Series: Shehab Uddin

Windmill of your mind: Stories inspired by Queensland’s oldest building is the latest exhibition by Queensland State Archives (QSA). The exhibition, showcasing the artwork of students from the Queensland College of Art at Griffith University, alongside treasures from the state’s archives, focuses on the Old Windmill on Wickham Terrace in Brisbane.

The heritage-listed Old Windmill has stood witness to much of Brisbane’s 190 year history and some of these intriguing, and at times, disturbing historical events were highlighted in a recent short film created by QSA staff.

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It was the stories of Brisbane’s past seen through photographs taken at the time, and comparing these to photographs taken of the same location today, that inspired Shehab Uddin, Queensland College of Art lecturer and one of the talented artists who contributed to the exhibition. Shehab produced a series of three photographic prints on cotton rag paper, exhibited alongside reference images, entitled Reconnect Memories: Episodes from Brisbane’s History.

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We recently caught up with Shehab and asked him about the iconic building that inspired his artwork, and if he knew much about the history of this Spring Hill landmark before he commenced this project.

No, in fact I did not know much about the history of the Old Windmill at Spring Hill before starting this project.

Shehab revisited places where significant historical events occurred, using archival images as a reference point, and presented this history in association with his current-day photographs capturing the same locations. We wondered about his experience of drawing artistic inspiration from historical Queensland stories. Shehab told us:

I found the project a very interesting one. It gave me the opportunity to look at the deeper, fascinating history and historical photographs of Brisbane, where I have lived since 2012.  Also, being a photographic storyteller, it allowed me to express the story and to reconnect the memories of the past to create a bridge between past, present and future (histories) – because what becomes history was at one time the present, and what is present will become past in future time.

In his Artist Notes, Shehab describes how his work is not purely a photographic documentation of places and architecture, but rather is a way of connecting time and history through photographic art. Drawing on historic photographic techniques and equipment from the 1950s, Shehab has produced striking photographic prints with both a documentary quality and a historical aesthetic appearance.

Our artists participating in the exhibition told us that the experience offered some illuminating insights, so we asked Shehab about what he took away from this experience.

To me, the project is a great collection and combination of various ways of telling historical stories with a very emotional touch. I believe these emotional reflections of different artists connect the viewer (including myself) to the history of Brisbane and provide the importance of knowing the past.

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The Windmill of your mind: Stories inspired by Queensland’s oldest building exhibition can be seen at Queensland State Archives, located at 435 Compton Road Runcorn. Opening hours are 9.00am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday, as well as the second Saturday of every month. Entry is free of charge and the exhibition runs until December 2017.

About Queensland State Archives

For more information about Queensland State Archives visit www.archives.qld.gov.au

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