Monday night saw the launch event of a new exhibition at the mac Birmingham. We’re not merely talking pictures-on-walls here though – the night was a hive of creative talent, young producers, raw poetry, exclusive singer-songwriter performances, and off-the-wall drama & dance that had us in stitches. The most exciting aspect was that every performance, poster and even doodle on a postcard was inspired by the theme ‘One Hundred Thousand Welcomes’ – a reflection on what Birmingham means to everyone involved. I had the honour of being asked to create an A2 sized poster which has been made into 25 prints for the exhibition… and somehow the months since I painted it in October have melted away. It is now at the mac until April!
Sarah & Louise from the One Hundred Thousand Welcomes project say this is:
“A brand new project collecting creative, cultural & social engagements in the form of welcomes. Welcomes can be big or small, warm or polite, given or received. Whether a splendid red carpet or a humble welcome mat, welcomes are the extension of an invitation to enter, connect and engage – to become a part of something… Brummies are a notoriously friendly bunch, but we want to connect the dots and welcome people to new spheres, igniting fresh ways of thinking about and interacting with the city.”
My commission was called Unwind, and I say:
“My relationship with Birmingham was brief but intense – working part time and spending boundless hours exploring the city by bicycle. Many episodes spent watching well-dressed business-people & arty smart-moustache folk alike from the shelter of bright cafés, cycling past a cluster of deckchairs where black & white film watchers huddled outdoors under blankets, partying under railway arches to danced-up swing music and drifting off for some urban foraging when I needed an injection of more rural pursuits. The library’s opening just a few days after my arrival made it synonymous with my life there and it seemed to add another modernist icon to the skyline. All of these brightly coloured aspirations and smart new frontiers harked back in my mind to an early 20th century remodelling of the country, and it struck me that Birmingham, with its many major railway stations, should take its place amongst the classic rail posters of the 1930s era.”