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Suriya Aisha

Suriya has been a practicing artist for 4 years. Her work originates in poetry, but she has worked across wider disciplines including theatre, live art and spoken word. In 2016 Suriya was commissioned to write a new play for Live Lunch – an initiative led by the Royal Court. Nine Nights enjoyed sell-out readings at The Royal Court and Birmingham REP.

In 2015 Suriya was selected for Talawa’s Studio First which lead to her project Dark Room to be commissioned for Talawa First, allowing her to develop this live art project to full fruition. She was selected to be part of Birmingham REP’s artist development programme The Foundry in 2014. Suriya is part of part spoken word collective Bellows and has previously been part of the Cannon Hill Collective. She has performed alongside Meera Syal at Theatre Royal Stratford East and previously featured as part of the ‘Late at Tate’ exhibition ‘Visibly, Invisible’ curated by Saira Awan.

Suriya is passionate about equal opportunities and representation. Her project STAMP worked with young people with additional needs in partnership with the Next Generation team at mac Birmingham. She has also launched a peer and social support network – UNMUTED for young people of colour who identify as LGBTQI. Suriya has worked as a workshop facilitator primarily with young people in a wide range of contexts.


“Are you afraid?

The truth is /

I feel safest horizontal

Head propped up

Legs out stretched

Wrapped in the familiar

That is not strong

That is not commended

That is not valued

That is not paid for

If I could work from this position, I would be better

than I am

most days

Fighting off the dizzy behind my eyes

left to stop the shaking

Hiding in cubicles

To let my Black smiling woman face

Relax into deep tired cheeks

Untouched by sleep

Sagging lips

Free tears

To give in

To give in is failure

To give in is safety

Are you afraid?

I’ve silenced my sick voice

Horizontal is project exploring invisible disabilities, our bodies and how we relate to the world:

– How does fear impact on people’s experience of illness?

– What are the pros and cons of making invisible disabilities visible?

– How does chronic illness make you feel about your body image and physical self?

– If illness had a societal gender what would it be?

– What are the interactions between capitalism, FOMO (fear of missing out) and disabilities?

Suriya Aisha