UNIfy Festival Pass the portrait – Talat Sajawal

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During UNIfy 2021, they launched Pass the Portrait.

The idea for Pass the Portrait was submitted through the community consultation by Mark Dolby who is the Director of STORY Film and Photography. Over the last 12 months, Mark has mentored people from across the district to take a portrait of their chosen person with the aim of telling a range of stories of interesting people who live, work, or make Bradford the wonderful place it is. Mark chose Nicola Greenan as the first portrait, and from this point, the portraits were determined by the subjects. During UNIfy 2022they showcased the portraits and the stories behind them. One of this year’s portraits was our Talat Sajawal and here are his answers to the questions;

What does Bradford mean to you?

Bradford means home to me. It’s where I live, where my family lives, where I’ve been brought up, where I’ve been born, where my children are, and where my father came from Kashmir and settled with my mother. Forever we’ve been ‘Bradfordians’ and I have no intention of leaving.

When you say home obviously you’re comfortable at home, in the environment you create within your home and Bradford is exactly that. There are some negative aspects to Bradford but that’s the same everywhere not just in Bradford. A lot of people just focus on the negative aspects, I’d like to focus on the positives and see them as the strengths of Bradford.

The City of Culture Bid is another testament to that. We’ve made it to the final stages of that and hopefully, if and when we get that, it will shine a bigger spotlight on more of the positive aspects of Bradford.

What did It feel like to be photographed?

Being a local councillor you end up taking quite a lot of photographs with people but to be photographed because somebody has nominated you and recognised you for some of the work you do was quite humbling. I never do it for any sort of recognition, I just do the work because I feel like it’s needed and something that needs to be done. Somebody has actually seen you doing what you’re doing and they agree with what you’re doing and they’re happy with it.

If you could choose somebody to Pass the Portrait to, who would it be?

Within this community, there are quite a few unsung heroes but I’d pass it on to Hakeek Sadeek from West Bowling Youth Initiative who does a lot of work with young people in the area and is involved with the local cricket club and we jointly do a lot of work together with youngsters through sport and physical activity. Covid has been hard but Hakeek has worked tirelessly and I think they are about to celebrate about 30 years of that project being running and Hakeek has probably been a part of that project for about 20 years. He’s an absolute credit to the area, he’s a local guy and his passion and dedication are second to none.

For more information visit https://www.bradford.ac.uk/events/unify/extra/pass-the-portrait/