BOM exhibition opens on Southside

Collaboration with Kenyan artists reflects how communities are dealing with pandemic.

Birmingham Open Media is set to host a multimedia exhibition and graffiti installation in the heart of Southside district, featuring the work of Kenyan artist activists that reflects the incredible ways that communities are tackling the coronavirus pandemic against a challenging social and political backdrop.

Mathare Futurism will launch at BOM today, following the centre’s longstanding partnership with communities in the deprived Mathare area of Nairobi. The exhibition highlights the resilience and courage of the Mathare community and how they have used art and music to empower each other and take action amongst the spread of the virus.

Alongside the powerful body of work – aimed to spread information and awareness – Birmingham-based street artist T-Bone has created a giant mural on Hinckley Street that pays homage to Mathare. Having worked with Wyban Kanyi, coordinator of Mathare Green Movement, to design the piece, T-Bone’s installation tackles subjects such as the increase in police brutality and violence faced by those living in the informal settlement.

The exhibition, which will be on display until March 2021, features music, moving images, photography and graffiti, providing a snapshot of how artist activists have tackled the coronavirus and associated social problems, in a community where it is physically impossible to isolate and where access to toilets, water and sanitiser is scarce.

Louise Latter, curator of the exhibition, said: “BOM has been collaborating with residents of Mathare throughout the pandemic, and this exhibition will enable us to share the global experience, not only of dealing with coronavirus but also their battle against long-standing police brutality and violence.

“The people of Mathare have faced adversity for decades, but coronavirus has added a new level of fear and uncertainty. We hope this exhibition and installation highlights the courage and creativity of this community to a wider audience.”

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