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Contemporary Art Practice (MA)

Yasmeen Fathima Thantrey

Yasmeen Fathima Thantrey (b.1996) is an artist, writer and researcher from Nottingham, based in London. Their practice explores South Asian diaspora and the intersections of identity through the lens of a Brown woman.

MA Contemporary Art Practice (Public Sphere), Royal College of Art, 2023

BA (Hons) Fine Art Sculpture, University of the Arts London, Camberwell College of Arts, 2020

Leverhulme Scholarship, RCA, 2021-2023

Cedric Morris Foundation Travel Award, UAL, 2020

Campaigns Officer, Arts Students' Union, 2020-2021

Degree Details

School of Arts & HumanitiesContemporary Art Practice (MA)Public SphereRCA2023 at Truman Brewery

Truman Brewery, F Block, Ground, first and second floors

A photograph of a brown fat woman with peach hair wearing a lilac marbled button down top.


Yasmeen Fathima Thantrey (she/her/they) is an artist living and working in London. Currently completing her MA in Contemporary Art Practice (Public Sphere) at the Royal College of Art, her practice explores diaspora, identity, and barriers she has encountered growing up in the UK.  Feminist issues such as body hair and diet culture are also challenged through the eyes of a Brown woman. Their work is interdisciplinary, often using mediums that feel appropriate to the topics she is exploring. This ranges from photography, text, performance and film, to installations and soft sculptures.

"Often I feel huge tension between the intersections of my identity, rarely finding spaces that can nurture me as a whole. I try to explore these tensions within my practice, aiming to find the sweet spot that can give voice my experiences with disability, class, gender/queerness, and race as a Pakistani Punjabi woman. Communities and socially engaged practices play a big role in creating works that can speak to a shared experience."

Thantrey’s work has a strong collaborative element, as the issues she takes on are socio-political, and therefore, community is extremely significant for the work she produces. This makes her work fall somewhere within the art activism and performance intersection, as audience response and gaze is crucial to the narrative. She aims to play and dismantle power structures through humorous loaded work, that purposefully interrupts a white cube and institutional environment.

Their work thrives within social media spaces, to generate discourse and open safe spaces for discussion. Often looking back to early 2010's toxic internet culture as a catalyst for internal biases, reclaiming social media in this way acts as a healing process to be shared with others in the generation. 

Photograph- @joelindsayphoto

gōlī'āṁ khā la'ī'āṁ hana? (u taken ur tablets?)The process and action of research has been critical to this project. Research of self and reclaiming documentation held by the state/government, in this case the NHS. Dating from 1998-present this prescription history covers snotty noses as a child, opioids as a teenager to covid vaccinations. There is no possible way that I could encompass over a decade of medical notes and labour into one work in a year, this is the start of a longer project that will be done with aram (آرام).


Printed polysatin, moving image



Ammi (2022)

When I was a child I loved being in the room with my mother as she completed her night-time routine. This won’t be a telling of a glamorous exotic woman who brushes her long silky hair one hundred strokes or bathes her locks and skin in aromatic nourishing oils. This is a lightly tanned Brown woman, with thinning, bobbed coils, and sagging breasts. Rough spikes and cheap razor burnt legs, and modest pyjamas. This is the embodiment of a working-class woman through the lens of a Brown girl.

My mum would unsuccessfully try to shrink herself, hiding the folds of her stomach with her work clothes from the day. I would lunge forward from my parent’s bed, desperate to trace the purple-red dents around her back and shoulders with my fingers. When I close my eyes now, I can feel the warm soft sensation of our skin touching. The hair on her torso is fine and almost unnoticeable when I compare it to my own.

As my own body ages, I witness it transition through healing and recovery. My collar bones and ribs have sunken back into their body, and my inner thighs find comfort in their touching. My own softness has begun to resemble that of my mother’s. Nutrition once again brings curls to my hair and folds to my stomach. I adorn my body in colour and serotonin inducing fabrics, that remind me of mothballs in the cupboards and suitcases of silk. Nani’s gold hoops and bangles rest on my skin as they once did hers, and I run oil through my hair as she once did for my mother.

Sometimes Mum fights with me, says I need to live within my means, live modestly. I resemble a magpie drawn to the vibrant, loud, maximalist things that glisten in the light. We are very different. At twenty five had to provide a stable household. A balanced world between traditional South Asian house wife, and modern working woman. I like to believe she had a choice to have that life, but I know that the world had already set a course for her to take.

My very own, South Asian, working class hero.

Ammi (2023)

Homesick on Eid (2023)

I’m homesick

In a flat with my dogs

And my lover

But the smell from the kitchen

That wrestles with the extractor fan

And floats down the street

Does not smell like home to me

I want to wake up in the morning to sweet desserts and spices tickling the hairs in my nostril

The doorbell to ring once or twice and it not be a delivery from an order I forgot I made

A morning kiss and cuddle could never compete

With a tight embrace over the shoulder one two three

Tea and coffee rounds after every meal and in between

Uncle and dad coming home after their namaz

And we hug one two three

And we feast

Scraping the last grains of rice that try to stay on the plate into our mouths

Fingers running along the inside of the bowl to get every last drop

This morning I don’t even get a text

I don’t know if it’s today or tomorrow

Waking late to a meeting on the sofa

My thighs fused with the plasticy cover beneath them

I eat hash browns and bbq sauce while watching strangers travel the world

And I cancel plans to fall into a habit I’ve spent years breaking

Climbing into an empty bed with my screen rotating through clips of strangers

To make me howl with 15 second laughter

And swipe



My mood swings to the far end of the spectrum

I want wetness to fill my eyes

But instead I frown

Thinking it’s my flakiness or ruined plans

But I’m just homesick on Eid

Market Value (2023)

Maybe Derby’s not so bad

A room in Lewisham for a grand a month

I’m sat in a blue box

2.5 beds

1 bath


Buildings growing taller around 

but I stay small

low to the ground

leaky window


under market value

I’m waiting for this email to come

for that one to become a two

Market value

market value of a blue box

social housing

buy it back

private social housing 

if you take the poor person out of the social housing does it become luxury?

US embassy

swimming pool

tube station

Clapham Common

market value

I’m having a crisis

who’s got a grand to spent on a bedroom anyway?

If the housing association are increasing rent I’ve got no hope with the private private housing

I’m in the private social housing

the private social blue box housing

the knock down the furniture shop to build luxury social housing housing

It’s still a council estate

with private social housing 

and young professionals from home counties

who’ve got a grand to spend on a room so anyway

the private social housing would rather they live here 

than aunty and uncle next-door 

and Kim the cat lady

I’m in the middle

with my private social housing 

under market value

working class but my parents own their home now

upper working class? lower middle class?

but I don’t have a grand to spend on a room

so when that one becomes a two I’m really


screwed because I have things in every room

screwed because I’ve become comfortable in a housing crisis

I missed the first wave that knocked my friends back to their parent’s 

I’ve settled in a temporary blue box that’s heading the same way as the furniture shop

but in the mean time they want to squeeze as much profit from this poor

blue box

and that means

market value 

and luxury housing.

Maybe Nottingham would be okay… 

photoshopped brown woman in sari with kebab next to Boris Johnson and Mr Wetherspoons pulling a pint
KEBABYI aim to explore tensions of transitioning into adolescence as a fat, Queer, Punjabi woman in the UK, with working-class identity. Media depictions of working-class communities is often dominated by white men in the media shouting at immigrants to ‘go home’. This was heightened by Brexit and has forced working-class people of colour to feel isolated from this intersection of identity. This image aims to disrupt the white working-class culture and reclaim space in the pub, away from stares and whispers.

Leverhulme Trust Arts Scholarships