Kazem Hakimi: Portraits from a Chip Shop

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Kazem Hakimi: Portraits from a Chip Shop – words Al Wokowsky

Kazem Hakimi has been taking photographs for the past 30 years and is week known in his East Oxford community. He also happens to own a local chip shop and has been photographing his customers for the last 2 years for this latest OX4 project.

So when a subject walks in and asked for fish and chip or curry peas and rice Kazem will ask them if they minded posing for a photograph – well people that spark his interest in one way or another.


The resulting chip shop photographs photographs portray a very culturally diverse community. There really is all kinds of people here and it counters the impression many of us might have when we think of Oxford. It trips up your preconceptions nicely. He uses the same backdrop each time of the chippy’s whitewashed wall and so it gives them all a solid sense of space. It’s a fascinating portrayal and snapshot of people at this strange point of history where divisiveness is rife but where many communities up and down the country seem at ease with their diverse nature.

“My customers are a cross-section of society and the photographs reveal an Oxford which is very different to the image of the city known to the outside world: one that is multi-ethnic and diverse. This series celebrates the range of characters who have made Oxford the city I love ” – Kazem Hakimi.

Emma Ridgway, Head of Programme at Modern Art Oxford says, “We are delighted to be working with Kazem on this important exhibition. His dignified photographic portraits capture trust, warmth and compassion; the images invite us to share a moment of emotional connection between the subject and artist. It is also inspiring that he creates these excellent portraits while running a full-time business, using his chip shop as his photographic studio. Kazem’s work centres on connectivity and has brought together our collaboration with the Old Fire Station.“

Jeremy Spafford, Director of Arts at the Old Fire Station says, “We are thrilled to be working with Modern Art Oxford to co-host an exhibition about the people who live in the city today by a wonderful local artist. Kazem’s portraits are honest, dignified, funny and skilfully taken; they capture the personality of the sitter. Everyone is treated the same, and they are an excellent snapshot of the real Oxford.”

Hedley Swain, Area Director, South East, Arts Council England adds, “Kazem’s Portraits from a Chip Shop is a beautiful example of how art can be unexpected, happening in unusual places and capturing people in their day-to-day lives. It is also a joyous example of how art can embrace anyone and everyone. We’re really pleased to be able to support this project through our National Lottery funded Grants for the Arts programme.”

Kazem Hakimi – Portraits from a Chip Shop

Images from his fish and chip shop Iffley Road
2 May – 2 July 2017
Preview Party: Friday 5 May


Kazem Hakimi: Portraits from a Chip Shop – words Al Wokowsky





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