Standing together in Digbeth
Starting yesterday, 4 August, and running until Sunday 10 August, Brum Spirit, formerly the Espirito Brum Festival, will bring a piece of public art to Digbeth. Across the week two street artists, HOAKSER and RCF1, will create a mural entitled "People Stand Together" depicting the wealth of culture and heritage linked with Digbeth on the walls of Birmingham's underground music venue PST on Lombard Street. PST has a 15 year history that grew out of the Jamaican blues dance movement in South Birmingham.
The perception of “Public art” is often viewed as an infliction on the public, rather than an enhancement to the area, the idea behind the mural is to showcase the positive force behind graffiti as public art with a mural loaded with social and cultural connotations.
This is the second commission for the Brum Spirit collective following the 2013 community inspired mural entitled "Welcome to Kings Heath" which saw Kings Heath born graffiti artist HOAKSER and visiting Brazilian artist Ficore create a mural to promote local pride in the area.
Brum Spirit, formerly named Espirito Brum, is a cultural exchange program promoting and facilitiating collaborations between the best artists and performers from around the world. Espirito Brum was founded in 2011and has hosted artists from Canada, Australia, Mali, France and the wider UK along with over 100 visiting Brazilian artists through Brum Spirit.
Brum Spirit is a project organised by Professional Incredibles, a Birmingham based events agency. Professional Incredibles announced earlier in the year the rebrand (from Espirito Brum Festival) to Brum Spirit, operating under a new identity and creative ambitions. Brum Spirit Project Manager and Co-Director of Professional Incredibles Tessa Burwood further explains:
"It's great to continue working with Brazilian artists such as Jota III, who have visited Birmingham through the exchange since 2011. At the same time, this rebrand to Brum Spirit opens out the exchange to visitors from other nations. Just last month we hosted Senegalese musician Kadialy Kouyate at Muzikstan Midsummer Festival, and we're delighted to be welcoming RCF1 from Paris.
"We wanted to open out the exchange to reflect Birmingham's cosmopolitan nature, and we were determined to continue empowering artists to work in an atmosphere of respect and professional development.”
The People Stand Together mural will showcase HOAKSER whose signature canvasses and sculptures are held in galleries and private collections in 13 countries across 5 continents. Visiting artist RCF1 is originally from Paris and has a career spanning 25 years in which he has exhibited across the world. The two artists will come together for the first time and draw inspiration from social and historical connotations of the area while also utilising portraits of Highgate residents taken by Some Cities, http://birminghamcentral.blogspot.com/2014/03/a-story-told-in-pictures.html, photographers Dan Burwood and Andrew Jackson.
With the aim to create celebratory and decorative public art to brighten up this part of Digbeth's warehouse district, HOAKSER said of the project;
“I'm really looking forward to painting another wall as part of Brum Spirit this year with French artist RCF1. Our ultimate goal the for People Stand Together mural is to incorporate the industrial area of Digbeth and reflect the local community. We want the local people to feel pride in People Stand Together and feel a sense of ownership.”
HOAKSER continues; “When working on the Kings Heath mural last year, it was great to have the inspiration from the local community, and showcase what the local residents take pride in about their neighbourhood, this is something we hope to replicate with the People Stand Together mural at PST.”
While work has started the Brum Spirit team are calling for local support and suggestions. People are encouraged to make submissions either directly to Brum Spirt by email [firstname.lastname@example.org] or by answering the simple question "Where is your favourite place in Birmingham?" via the Facebook page and website, www.brumspirit.org
Examples of the artists work
HOAKSER's Kings Heath work.
An example of RCF1's work