Friction Arts have been organising art projects in the South of Birmingham for the past twenty years. Their current project, Echoes, which is due to end as we make our way into autumn, has been an exhibition celebrating the sixties, seventies and eighties using personal stories and objects.
A series of four rooms in a converted factory in Digbeth are where the exhibition has taken place. Friction Arts have worked with US artist Sharon Flattery to 'create an interactive exhibition reflecting the voices, thoughts and histories of the residents and workers of Digbeth, Deritend and Highgate as the area undergoes it's most significant changes for forty years' (friction arts).
It comes as a refreshing change that the somewhat grittier areas of Birmingham are being given an opportunity to shirk their reputations, and invite the art-seeking eye.
I do like to consider myself part of the cultured crew in Birmingham, so I went along to this exhibition, alone. Sometimes visiting an exhibition alone you see what you're supposed to see, as opposed to inferring potential meanings as your friends whisper their opinion in your ear. It was an incredibly enlightening experience.
The mingling of select pieces of real stories made it like a live look at Birmingham before my time. I now feel like I know Birmingham better than what I thought. Oh, and if you do decide to bring a friend with you, there is plenty to talk about.