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Tami Aftab wins Open Call FORMAT21 – Spectrum Imaging Award

The Dog’s in the Car by Tami Aftab wins Open Call FORMAT21 – Spectrum Imaging Award.

Portrait of her father with tumeric and chilli on his hands by Tami Aftab
Tumeric and Chilli © Tami Aftab

Tami Aftab has won the Open Call FORMAT21 – Spectrum Imaging Award for her The Dog’s in the Car project.

Aftab uses a playful voice to question what she describes as the hushed tones that can surround illness, questions on collaboration and consent, family as subject and the space between documentary and performance.

Ultimately, the project is a story about a father-daughter relationship and how one family controls their lives dictated by illness and identity.

The Dog’s in the Car

Here Aftab explains the prize-winning project in her own words.

“The dog’s in the car,” mum shouts from upstairs.

My dad, Tony, has been running around the house, in and out of the garden thinking that he has lost Rudi, our dog.

This is a common occurrence. Dad drives back from a dog walk, forgets the dog’s in the car, comes in to the house and proceeds to think that he has lost him.

My dad, Tony, suffers with hydrocephalus, which is an abnormal build-up of cerebral fluid in the ventricles of the brain.

Around 25 years ago during an endoscopic third ventriculostomy, an operation to bypass blockages, an internal bleed occurred which permanently damaged his short term memory.

The poster for FORMAT21: Control


The Dog’s in the Car by Tami Aftab is the winner of the Open Call FORMAT21 – Spectrum Imaging Award.

Tami has received printing credit towards an exhibition that will be shown as part of this year’s FORMAT festival.

This year’s festival takes place from March 12 to April 11 virtually.

FORMAT hopes to open selected exhibitions across Derby’s cultural venues later in the year, when restrictions have been lifted.

The theme of this year’s festival is control.

Find out more about the festival here.