Drawing of Sudanese man surrounded by text

How Were You?

The last year or so has brought many challenges, tragedies and losses. We’ve lost people, certain freedoms, had to change the way we live drastically and for all of us it’s been an individual experience.  We want to find ways to respond artistically to the pandemic, to Brexit, to the Black Lives Matter movement and all the other changes that have come upon us in recent time. But we can’t do that just based on our own experience, we want to find out how other people have felt about things, and how they’ve dealt with the challenges.

So for the last few weeks we’ve been going out onto the street to ask people ‘How were you, How are you, How’s your community been and How do you think you will be?’ Lee and Sandra have been accompanied by artist and caricaturist Ben Jones and assisted by Savhanha Nguyen and Mia Walters.  We offer people a free portrait and while Ben is drawing another member of the team interviews the sitter about their experiences and feelings.  So far we’ve visited the Moseley Road in Balsall Heath on Friday afternoons and were kindly hosted by the wonderful Mrs McGhie-Belgrave in her garden in Stechford and by the outdoor market in the city centre.

We want to do more of this, it’s been absolutely fascinating to find out about the breadth of working class experience during this pandemic, and to find a way to document an important time in our history.

We’ll be looking forward to responding to everybody’s input with some outdoor performance work sometime over the Summer – we’ll let you know when and where…