Sanchita Islam

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Sanchita Islam
Born (1973-04-28) 28 April 1973 (age 43)
Manchester, Lancashire, England
Nationality British
Education Manchester Metropolitan University
London School of Economics
Northern Media School
Known for Graffiti
Movement Pigment Explosion

Sanchita Islam (Bengali: সঞ্চিতা ইসলাম; born 28 April 1973) is an English artist, painter, writer and filmmaker of Bangladeshi descent. In 1999, she founded Pigment Explosion, which has branched out into projects including film, painting, drawing, writing and photography.

Early life[edit]

Islam was born in Manchester, Lancashire, England[1] to a "non-Sylheti"[2] Bangladeshi parents. Islam's father died when she was eight months old, at the time her mother was in her mid 20s with three children under the age of four.[3] Islam and her sisters were brought up by their mother and step-father. Her mother was a social worker in Manchester and Oldham.[4]

From 1977 to 1984, Islam attended Amberleigh Preparatory School. From 1984 to 1991, she attended Chorlton Convent High School for Girls. In June 1991, she completed A-levels in Art, English Literature, History at Loreto College in Manchester. In June 1992, she completed an Art foundation diploma at Manchester Metropolitan University.[5]

In September 1996, Islam graduated from the London School of Economics, University of London with a BSc in International History and a MSc in Comparative Politics.[5] In February 1998, she completed an MA in Directing and Screenwriting sponsored by Channel 4 at the Northern Media School at Sheffield Hallam University.[6] She then enrolled for BA in Fine Art Practice and Theory of Visual Art at Chelsea College of Art and Design and dropped out in her second year.[7]


From 1996 to 1998, Islam had a short career working as researcher in television for London Weekend Television.[7]

In 1998, Islam participated in the group show 000 at the Whitechapel Art Gallery. Later, during a show of her drawings and paintings, she was told she would have to be at the gallery full-time. Islam decided to take her practice to the public.[8]

People came to the gallery and were more interested in watching Islam paint, which urged Islam to combine live painting, live visuals and live music. In January 1999, Pigment Explosion was initially set up to perform live art events,[8] but now specialises in international art projects.[9] Since 1999, Pigment Explosion has branched out into projects that include film, painting, drawing, writing and photography.[6]

Islam has done nearly 100 group and solo shows[6] in London, Paris, New York and Bangladesh.[8] She has written 15 books and two plays[10] as well as readings tours with writers like Irvine Welsh and Miranda Sawyer. She has worked with the British Council, on projects with the elderly, workshops in schools and with disadvantaged children.[8] She has directed and/or produced 17 films,[10] in London, New York, Paris, Bangladesh, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Rome, India, Pakistan, Frankfurt,[6] Nepal, Cambodia, Vietnam, Barcelona and Miami; they have been exhibited and screened in these places excluding Nepal, Cambodia, Vietnam, Barcelona and Miami. Her films and books, which combine text and drawings, have been funded by the Arts Council, BBC, British Council[9] and Commonwealth Institute.[8]

She was an artist in residence at the Whitechapel Art Gallery between 2003 and 2004, she was artist in residence at the Open Gallery from 2004 to 2008,[9] and also worked as an artist in residence at TVF Media from 2004 to 2009. She was also artist in resident at Artscape and Shoreditch House and her art features in various venues around London such as Sketch, Mark Hix's restaurant and she was commissioned to do over one hundred paintings for Clifton Hotels in Bristol.[6][11]

In 2010, the UK Film Council commissioned Islam's animated film The White Wall. In 2010 and 2011 the theatre group Estaca Zero Teatro in Portugal performed two of Islam's plays, The Suitcase and Hello.[12]

In March 2013, she had a mid-career retrospective at Rich Mix. KAOS (TrActor's sister organisation) awarded her a grant to complete the second scroll project with patients suffering from mental health problems in Brussels 2014.[13] Rich Mix has invited Pigment Explosion again to exhibit this second scroll and write/perform a play about art, madness and disability, the show is scheduled in June 2015. In March of the same year, she was interviewed by Nadia Ali on BBC Asian Network about her exhibition The Rebel Within.[14]

In January 2015, Muswell Hill Press published her new book, written under the pseudonym Q.S Lam, Schizophrenics Can Be Good Mothers Too.[15] In June 2015, the book was launched in London at Shoreditch House and Rich Mix.[16]

Personal life[edit]

In 2009, at the age of 36, she had her first experience of psychosis.[3][17]


Year Title Funding Publisher Notes
2002 From Briarwood to Barisal to Brick Lane Arts Council, British Council Collaborative work
2004 Old Meets Young
2005 Hidden Arts Council, British Council, Tower Hamlets Council
2007 Avenues Arts Council, BBC, Pigment Explosion Chipmunka Publishing
Connecting Kids
Cloud Catcher
2008 Eternal Pollution of a Dented Mind Chipmunka Publishing Collection of poems
Gungi Blues Novel
2015 Schizophrenics Can Be Good Mothers Too Muswell Hill Press Published under the pseudonym Q S Lam


Year Title Credit Note(s)
2010 Magic Hour 2 Director, writer
2011 White Wall Director

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "British Bengali Success Stories". BritBangla. 2003. Retrieved 1 December 2012.  Sanchita Islam
  2. ^ "BBC World News Amit Choudhury and Sanchita Islam on Impact". BBC World News. 6 June 2013. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Sanchita Islam". Millionaires Saving Migrants. BBC World Service. 19 February 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  4. ^ Marino, Elisabetta (7 January 2012). "Bridging Gaps: an interview with Sanchita Islam". The Creative Case for Diversity. p. 3. Retrieved 1 December 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Amin, Aasha Mehreen (30 April 2004). "A Different Face of Islam". Bangladesh: The Daily Star. Retrieved 1 December 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "Sanchita Islam". Hix. Retrieved 1 December 2012. 
  7. ^ a b Marino, Elisabetta (7 January 2012). "Bridging Gaps: an interview with Sanchita Islam". The Creative Case for Diversity. p. 2. Retrieved 1 December 2012. 
  8. ^ a b c d e "Sanchita Islam". Cultural Co-operation. Retrieved 1 December 2012. 
  9. ^ a b c "Sanchita Islam". Open Gallery. 2007. Retrieved 1 December 2012. 
  10. ^ a b Marino, Elisabetta (7 January 2012). "Bridging Gaps: an interview with Sanchita Islam". The Creative Case for Diversity. p. 1. Retrieved 1 December 2012. 
  11. ^ "State of Independenz – Sanchita Islam". London College of Fashion. 3 October 2007. Retrieved 1 December 2012. 
  12. ^ "Sanchita Islam". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  13. ^ "Sanchita Islam: The Rebel Within". March 2013. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  14. ^ "Sanchita Islam". BBC Asian Network. 17 March 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2015. 
  15. ^ "Schizophrenics Can be Good Mothers Too". Muswell Hill Press. October 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  16. ^ "Schizophrenics Can be Good Mothers Too". June 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2015. 
  17. ^ O'Hara, Mary (16 June 2015). "Sanchita Islam on mothers and mental health: 'Women suffer visions in silence'". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 July 2015. 

External links[edit]