Digbeth High Street is changing. As part of this new landscape artists Joanne Tatham & Tom O’Sullivan, Helen Cammock and Sarah Taylor Silverwood have been invited to create new public artworks for Digbeth. Launching in Autumn 2023, the new works are site-specific and place-sensitive, each taking different approaches to reflect and celebrate Digbeth’s layered heritage, rich ecologies and diverse communities.
Clad in colourful hand-made tiles Joanne Tatham & Tom O’Sullivan’s Digbeth Cylinder (working title) playfully references the visual languages of Digbeth’s architectural and civic heritage, shuffling to and fro between the decorative and the functional. Helen Cammock’s commission (as yet untitled) opens up conversations – amongst themselves, with the public and their surroundings – about the life cycles and cultural flows of Digbeth’s past, present and future. Sarah Taylor Silverwood’s Undercurrents (working title) has been developed with young people from St.Basil’s Youth Hub, and will bring the pavement to life with patterns incorporating super-sized creatures and features of the River Rea that runs beneath it.
Eastside Projects has been appointed by Birmingham City Council and West Midlands Combined Authority to produce and integrate Digbeth Public Art Works into the new public realm created by Midland Metro’s Birmingham Eastside Extension.
Joanne Tatham & Tom O’Sullivan, (b. 1971 West Yorkshire & 1967 Norwich) live and work in London & Newcastle respectively. Working across sculpture, installation, performance, and publishing, Tatham and O’Sullivan have developed a distinctive visual language that is rich in content and attitude. Employing the images, objects and histories of art and visual culture – such as standing stones, Op-art designs and hieroglyphics – the artists’ scrutinise and challenge the conventions by which art is expected to function, be valued and displayed.They have staged significant commissions for Studio Voltaire, London (2021); for Swire Properties at Taikoo Li Quiantan, Shanghai (2021); a collaboration with Swatch watches (2020); at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art (2018); Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (2017) and Tramway, Glasgow (2014; 2010; 2001). In 2005 they represented Scotland at the 51st Venice Biennale. Tatham and O’Sullivan are represented by The Modern Institute, Glasgow.
Helen Cammock (b. 1970 Staffordshire) lives and works in Brighton and London. Her practice spans film, photography, print, text, song and performance and examines mainstream historical and contemporary narratives about Blackness, womanhood, oppression and resistance, wealth and power, poverty and vulnerability. Her works often cut across time and geography, layering multiple voices; investigating the cyclical nature of histories in her visual and aural assemblages. In 2017, Cammock won the Max Mara Art Prize for Women and in 2019, Cammock was the joint recipient of The Turner Prize. She has exhibited and performed worldwide with recent and current solo shows including Bass Notes and SiteLines, Amant, New York, USA (2023); I Will Keep My Soul, Art + Practice, Los Angeles, USA, (2023); Behind The Eye Is The Promise Of Rain, Kestner Gesellshaft, Hannover, Germany (2022); Concrete Feathers and Porcelain Tacks, Touchstones, Rochdale and The Photographer’s Gallery, London, UK (2021), Beneath the Surface of Skin; STUK Art Centre, Leuven, Belgium (2021); They Call It Idlewild, Wysing, UK (2020); Che Si Può Fare, Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (2019), Che Si Può Fare, Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia, Italy (2019) and The Long Note, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland (2019); VOID, Derry, Northern Ireland (2018). Group shows include Breathing, Hamburger Kunstalle, Hamburg, Germany (2022) and Radio Ballads, Serpentine Galleries, London, UK (2022). She is represented by Kate MacGarry, London.
Sarah Taylor Silverwood (b. 1986 Forest of Dean) is an artist and illustrator based in Birmingham. Working in a range of media across animation, ceramics, print and public artwork often working in collaboration with other people. Sarah Taylor Silverwood is an artist exploring drawing and language and their shared histories. She has a studio at Grand Union and is part of Modern Clay Co-op and Feminists Work for Change, and is influenced by the work of studio based collaborative practices like The Leeds Animation Workshop, Sister Corita Kent and The Milan Women’s Bookstore. Recent solo projects include Love Bugs at Chapter, Cardiff (2020-2021), Daphne at Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth (2020) and The New Art Gallery Walsall (2019), and Crowd Show (2018) at NN Contemporary. Sarah was artist in residence at The British Consulate in Chicago (2014) and The University of Birmingham (2013), and recipient of the 2019 Feeney Fellowship.