We worked with photographer Vanley Burke and older African-Caribbean women to create Home. Vanley took beautiful portraits of the women in their homes, whilst we recorded interviews with them asking them what they thought of when they heard the word ‘home’. We had some great conversations about Birmingham, ‘back home’ and the ongoing Windrush scandal. We exhibited the photographs and added an AR (augmented reality) element so that, using a simple app, people could scan the pictures with their phones and hear the women’s voices whilst looking at the portraits.
We intended to celebrate these extraordinary women, who have helped make modern Birmingham what it is today, in a climate where the very fact of whether it is their home is put into question, ironically by the Home Office.
In addition we interviewed Vanley Burke on his allotment in Handsworth. He told us of his time during the pandemic and about African Liberation Day. This was the first really large gathering of Black people where they listened to activists from across the globe, in Handsworth Park. This was against the backdrop of many African nations gaining independence from colonial powers.
Home is part of our Word From The Wise programme, which aims to commission older artists to make new work.