dpm is a Birmingham-based freelancer with experience of arts and lifestyle features.
Artists Luke Jerram and Mohammed Ali lead the discussion
People in Birmingham and beyond are being invited to take part in an online debate with internationally renowned artists to explore the role of public art during COVID-19.
The free talk, How Can Public Art Connect Grieving Communities? on Thursday October 29 will feature acclaimed artists Luke Jerram and Mohammed Ali in a panel discussion and taking questions from an online audience.
The event is organised by BrumYODO, a Birmingham-based community interested company dedicated to using the arts to encourage open and honest conversations around death and dying. The panel, hosted by artistic director and facilitator Orit Azaz, will consider how communities approach joint acts of memorial and how public art can enable people to have better conversations around end of life.
Luke Jerram is a multidisciplinary artist whose most recent project In Memoriam is a temporary memorial to people who have died from the COVID-19 pandemic. An open air installation featuring huge red and white flags made from bedsheets, it references people who have died in hospital and care homes as well as the many healthcare workers on the frontline during the pandemic.
Luke says: "Not many people have been able to grieve properly, with loved ones unable to visit their relatives in hospitals, funerals cancelled, churches and cathedrals closed. So, although it feels like we're only half-way through this pandemic, there's a massive need for an artwork that can help us grieve for those we've lost."
Birmingham-based artist Mohammed Ali fuses street art with digital projections and moving soundscapes and has created works for audiences across the globe including New York, Kuala Lumpur and Cape Town.
The discussion will be chaired by Orit Azaz who has worked with a host of regional and national arts organisations including Birmingham Hippodrome, Nofit State Circus and mac Birmingham.
BrumYODO has built up a strong reputation for organising arts-based activities for all ages and is best-known for its annual festival A Matter of Life and Death. With year's festival cancelled due to COVID-19, the group has moved online for a series of events.
BrumYODO Chair Anna Lock says: "During this current pandemic there is all the more necessity for us to talk openly and honestly about death and dying. This is about more than statistics, it is about encouraging us to ensure our loved ones know our choices when facing the end of our lives.This online event looks at how public art can encourage this by creating powerful and thought-provoking images and installations which prompt us to begin these conversations. It is the first of our online events – anyone who would like to know about future plans is invited to join our mailing list at brumyodo.org.uk"