Art Practice in Birmingham October 2016

I was delighted to be at two events on Saturday 22nd October.  Both contributed to my process of contextualising my major theme for my Masters degree.

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG), possibly Birmingham Museums Trust, to consult people around potential acquisitions by the artist Donald Rodney (1961-1998).  Rodney was a notable artist of the latter part of the 20th century.  His work has been acquired by Tate. This link explains that small collection visited 23rd October 2016. Rodney was exploring, through his work and installations, the issues of race, ethnicity and racism.

Rodney suffered from sickle-cell anaemia, a disease that meant he deteriorated during his life and when he was at his artistic prime.  There is a striking photograph ‘In the House of My Father’ printed onto aluminium sheet which portrays his hand containing a minute crafted house created from his own skin. This is a striking image in its own right.  As with many of the most state of photographs it draws you into enquire as to the nature of the object held within the hand and you are a cover story of his illness and medical treatment as part of his debilitating disease.  Three prints were made of this image and one is currently available for sale and may be acquired by BMAG. As part of the acquisition consultation I was strongly in favour of the purchase of this large scale photographic print. I believe the photograph would engage a city and regional audience with this Birmingham born artist’s work.


This image shows a copy of the photograph around the consultation table.

Photo Credit Philip Singleton


This image, obtained from visited 25th October 2016  shows a view of Donald Rodney’s In the House of My Father 1996-7

Later on that day we took a walk across Birmingham city centre from the back to Vivid Projects in the Eastside area of the city. 

Vivid Projects are hosting work by Donald Robbie and his cohort.

This image shows an advisor to be BMAG Ian Sergeant explaining the context behind the black power image from the 1968 Mexico Olympics carried out by African-American olympians. I was a strong reminder of the overt and covert racism that we still experience in the twenty first century, particular around the ‘Brexit’ fallout.

The evening was then taken top with a visit to the annual Longbridge lighting festival.  Longbridge saw the demise of MG Rover in 2005 and since then a long term masterplan has been in place focusing on the regeneration of the auburn of Birmingham UK.  As a strong advocate of arts and culture in regeneration, it was a delight to see this project, now in its 4th year have such a visually and aurally powerful array of artists position their work inside new buildings, lighting existing industrial structures and especially around the public realm and new parkland. 




These three images show the lighting installations, both temporary and permanent.  Approximately 10,000 people attended the evening event. More information can be found here visited 23rd October 2016.

Photo Credit Philip Singleton


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