Lift the Lid: 23 Voices was a 10-week podcasting and journalism course co-hosted by LEEDS 2023 and Creative Lives, providing participants with the skills and confidence to create their own media about the culture that matters to them. In this article, Yasmin Saloo shares her pick of three creatives blazing their own trails across Leeds’ visual arts scene.

Amina Saloo Photography

So, I had this chat with Amina recently, and let me tell you, she's breaking all kinds of moulds. Amina straight-up defied the norms rooted in South Asian culture to chase her passion for photography, and I am here for it!

She kicked off her journey by snagging a first-class degree in photography – talk about starting strong, right? Now, picture this: Amina, the wedding photography sensation. Yup, she dabbled in snapping shots at Asian weddings during her uni days, just for some extra cash. But guess what? It blew up! Suddenly, she's this big name across the entire UK. Who saw that coming?

Now, here's the juicy part. Amina decided to spice things up with an expedition to India for a uni project. She rolled back to her hometown and worked her magic, capturing these mind-blowing shots of the locals. Seriously, I couldn't look away. She managed to paint India in this incredibly beautiful light, showcasing the simplicity of her hometown and throwing in some other cities for good measure.

Amina didn't stop there; she hopped around different cities, documenting life in all its glorious diversity. The way she brings out the essence of each culture and everyday scenes is just mind-blowing. I'm telling you, Amina's not just taking photos; she's telling stories with every click of that camera.

Umar Goreja

Alright, so let me spill the tea on Umar – this absolute wizard behind the camera hailing from Yorkshire/Leeds. I've been low-key stalking his work for a minute now, and let me tell you, it's like nothing else out there. Umar's got this vibe, this style that's just him, you know? And honestly, the dude deserves way more props for it.

I practically live for his YouTube channel. He whips up these short movies and videos that are not just good, they're jaw-droppingly incredible. And he's not just hiding behind the lens; you can catch him vibing with everyone on TikTok and Instagram.

What really gets me about Umar's stuff is how surreal it is. It's like he's got this secret sauce that turns ordinary moments into visual masterpieces. I'm telling you, the guy's a creative force, and he needs more love for bringing this fresh, one-of-a-kind style to the scene. Keep tabs on Umar – he's on the brink of something big, and I'm here for every bit of it!

Zainab Mansur

Let me tell you about Zainab, this incredible artist holding it down in Leeds. Her artwork? Absolute fire. I've been a fan for ages, especially because she has this knack for creating watercolour landscapes of people's homes. What sets her apart? She crafts pieces that stick with you, memories immortalised in vibrant hues. It's not just art; it's a journey down memory lane.

Zainab's not just doing her own thing; she's also rocking commission pieces. And let me tell you, there's something seriously profound about her work. It's not just strokes on canvas; it's a meaningful expression that resonates with people. Now, imagine this – her pieces as a gift. Like, what a flex! A Zainab original would be the perfect way to immortalise a moment for a loved one or even just to treat yourself because we all deserve a masterpiece on our walls. She's got this killer combo of watercolours and fineliner that brings her pieces to life.

Honestly, it's like she's capturing the soul of the homes she paints. If you're not already hooked, check out her Instagram. Trust me, you'll thank me later.

Hi, I'm Yasmin Saloo! Currently, I'm delving into the world of hairdressing, thoroughly enjoying the hands-on creativity in the salon and picking up new skills along the way. Beyond that, I've developed a real passion for podcasting. Engaging in conversations and sharing stories on the airwaves have become my thing. I'm looking forward to seeing how these two worlds might collide and bring something great to the table. Yasmin Saloo, Lift the Lid: 23 Voices participant