A visual artist and photography teacher has moved back to Eastbourne to be closer to her family and to raise her children by the coast.

Arpita Shah was educated in Eastbourne, but left to complete her studies in Edinburgh. She made her home there, married and started her artistic journey in Scotland. Her artwork has been exhibited across the UK and internationlly including USA, India, Kenya, France and Canada.

When she discovered she was pregnant with twins, she decided to move back to Eastbourne. Her parents, who had re-located to Northern Ireland, also moved back to Eastbourne to be closer to their grandchildren.

“I have always loved Eastbourne and have so many friends here from my school days,” Arpita said. “This is just the perfect place to raise my twins, Lewis and Harris. It’s so important to me for them to grow up close to my parents and brother’s family and learn more about our Indian heritage.”

Arpita is the latest artist to feature in The Beacon’s Creatives by the Coast series, which highlights the amazing work of local artists and the inspiration they find in Eastbourne.

Arpita also teaches photography at the Open College of the Arts, an open access college where she focuses on community and representation. She works with her students on the ethics around representing diverse communities, and the complex power dynamics this involves.

“Growing up, I always felt there wasn’t enough represention of culturally diverse communities in the arts and media, particually the communities that I was part of” Arpita explained. “So, it was really important to me to address this in my practice and make art work that explores it and celebrates it. “It’s been really inspiring moving back to Eastbourne after 18 years and seeing how multicultural and diverse it’s become”

Arpita will be working with with VOLT Gallery and Devonshire Collective on Seaside road on a photography project later on this year collaborating with young people exploring identity. This will and be showcased at VOLT Gallery in 2023.

Photography was an early love for Arpita “My first encounter with photography was during my childhood, watching my father photograph my mother wearing vibrant saris and standing next to blossoming trees, catching her reflection in the mirror and sitting by the sea,” she explained. “I think from the first day I picked up a camera my mother has always been standing on the other end of the lens looking back at me. She’s my muse, and many stories, conversations and experiences we’ve shared have inspired my artwork.”

You can read more about Arpita’s artistic work and see a selection of her images at www.instagram.com/thebeacon_eb/