Eastside Projects have invited four anti-colonial artists to imagine, develop, and realise new artworks across Birmingham for the Birmingham 2022 Festival.
What might anti-colonial artists make?
Art that reveals a future diaspora after the end of white supremacy; art that brings those the Empire dubbed as Monsters of the World to Birmingham; art that gives us the perspective of a small dog abducted and transported to Great Britain for a Queen; and art that offers a provocative meditation on the experiences of Black athletes in the realm of elite sporting competition and mass entertainment.
Together we have been exploring Birmingham’s positions, affinities and complicities within the Commonwealth towards coinciding a set of artworks with the 22nd occasion of what is now called the Commonwealth Games, but was previously known as the Inter-Empire Championships (1911), British Empire Games (1930–1950), British Empire and Commonwealth Games (1954–1966), and British Commonwealth Games (1970–1974).
What can an artist-run-multiverse do in response to such an event being hosted by their hometown, the historical heart of the industrial machine that fuelled, traded and equipped the British Empire with such efficacy from the 18th Century onwards?
We could make art, boycott, protest, undermine, unsettle, organise, invite, gather, question, listen, make noise:
Rajni Perera’s ‘Traveller’ will be exhibited at Eastside Projects, with a mural launch in Highgate/Balsall Heath.
Amy Ching-Yan Lam’s ‘Looty Goes to Heaven’ will be across Digbeth, near the location of the former Typhoo Tea Factory.
Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi’s ‘Equations for a Body at Rest’ will be available across multiple community and poster sites across Birmingham.
Jon McCurley’s ‘Monsters of the World’ project can be found in Bournville, including the location of the still-active Cadbury Factory.