BCVA has started working with two new community groups from All Saints and Blakenhall on the Apna Heritage Archive project. We took along some of our archive prints to showcase the collection so far and introduced the project to the ladies. A keen interest was shown by both groups and we look forward to further visits and hopefully more photographs for the archive!
Black Country Visual Arts
It was great to see the Humjoli Ladies Group visit the archive space at Guru Teg Bahadur Gurdwara in Blakenhall. They were really exited to see prints of some of the archived material and the display of items collected from participants. This was a great opportunity to see some of their own photographs and some of the group had even brought along more photographs to archive for the project. The collection of prints started to bring back memories and stories from the 60's and 70's and early migration to Wolverhampton.
Year five pupils at St Luke's got to talk about their own personal archive bio and share their archive photograph with the school. There was a great deal of excitement as the pupils looked for their portraits as you can see in the image above. After reading out their own hand written information sheet they got to file away the information along with their photograph into the new St Luke's archive box. The children were really positive about the archive sessions and have enjoyed learning about our project and the importance of archive and heritage.
One again it was great to visit St Luke's for another workshop. The children put into practice what they have learnt so far about recording their own archive stories. BCVA took portraits of the year five pupils in national dress or home clothes whilst the children recorded information to go with the photographs. We look forward to going back next week to complete the archive with year five. A big thank you for St Luke's for make a great effort!
BCVA were invited by Wolverhampton City Archives to attend this years Local History Fair to share their ground breaking HLF funded Apna Heritage Archive project. The project is documenting Punjabi migration to Wolverhampton form 1960 to 1989 through the collection of photographs and ephemera. We had a great turnout and it was great to see such positive response from all members of the community for our project.
BCVA are currently on a marketing drive to promote the Apna Heritage Archive, a project supported by Heritage Lottery Fund. After appearing in various publications including ARC magazine and Mann Jeet Weekly we have been in the heart of local community promoting the value of heritage that our project brings. Along the way we have met many individuals that are keen to get involved and are digging out the old albums as we speak! be sure to visit our website and Instagram page to see the archive build up.
BCVA's Apna Heritage Archive project makes it into the September issue of ARC magazine. ARC is a monthly magazine for members of the Archives and Records Association. It's really positive news that our project as been featured in a magazine read by people and organisations in the record keeping profession.
BCVA attended Jaivant Patel Dance's Tiranga 2016 event at the heart of the community in Blakenhall Wolverhampton. It was a great opportunity to promote the Apna Heritage Archive to our target audience and participants. We had a positive response from the local community and met many new participants for the archive project.
One photograph makes a great connection with the past. Sarvjit Sra pictured above with Avtar Cheema with a photograph taken in Newport Street c.1969. Avtar lived in Newport St in the 80's and Sarvjit's relatives lived in the same house in the 70's. It's a small world!
BCVA would like to thank Jaivant Patel and all the staff at Tiranga 2016 for their support.
A group of 30 children visited Wolverhampton City Archives as part of BCVA's Apna Heritage Archive project. The children learned about the value of archives and the history of the Molineux Hotel building. Along with a visit to the strong rooms and taking photographs of the buildings architecture conservator Jon Everall and City Archivist Heidi McIntosh shared their knowledge with the children and staff. A big thank you to all the staff at Wolverhampton City Archives for an exciting and historical afternoon!
BCVA once again teamed up with St Luke's C of E primary school in Blakenhall to talk about our new Apna Heritage Archive project. Over the course of 4 workshops they will learn about the value of archives and how to create their very own archive made up of portraits and information about themselves. The children learned how to take a portrait through a practical game of 'human camera' and portrait session. Over the next few workshops we will visit the Wolverhampton City Archives to learn more about archival practice and take new portraits in national dress. A big thank you to all the staff and children for their hard work and enthusiasm for the project. Apna Heritage Archive is funded by Heritage Lottery Fund.
Creative Black Country's commissioned work by six artists at six Black Country pubs opens at the Southbank Alchemy festival 2016. The opening night was a huge success with a coach full of Desi Pub landlords and Artist arriving at the Royal Festival Hall in style! The Alchemy festival showcases the talents of Artists from around the world, celebrating the rich cultural relationship between the Indian subcontinent and the UK. Anand and Sra from BCVA displayed 18 portraits taken at The Island Inn and The Sportsman Club both in West Bromwich.
A post on Twitter by Wolverhampton born journalist Sathnam Sanghera " Lovely new Instagram account aiming to collate some British Asian history" was followed by a re tweet by fellow Wolverhampton born comedian and writer Mera Syal " These old b/w snaps make everything look like a movie still. Cherish and share, photos on a phone just can't compete."
Cyrus Todiwala was in the Black Country today visiting the 'Desi Pubs' project and meeting some of the artists that are creating new work at the pubs. Anand and Sra talked with Cyrus and Ruchi about their portrait work and the interesting stories behind them. It was great to hear Cyrus's take on the 'Desi Pub' story here in the Black Country.
Over the last few months Anand and Sra have created new portraits at the Island Inn and The Sportsman Club, both in West Bromwich as part of a Creative Black Country commission.
Black Country Visual Arts CIC has received £68,600 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting project, Apna Heritage Archive, in Wolverhampton. Led by Black Country Visual Arts and supported by a range of local partners and volunteers, the project will create an original photographic archive of Punjabi migration to the city from 1960 to 1989. The Apna Heritage archive will exist within Guru Teg Bahadur Gurdwara in Blakenhall with a digital copy available at the City Archives. The project will run for two years until early 2018.
Thanks to National Lottery players the project will engage Punjabi residents of Wolverhampton to learn about and discuss their heritage contributing their historic family photographs to the new archive. Seventy-five portraits will also be taken providing a present day record. Community volunteers will learn about the value of heritage and develop skills to create and maintain the visual archive. A creative learning and heritage project with St Luke’s Primary School will run alongside the project. Year 6 school children will learn and develop heritage research skills and create their own archive of the school and local Blakenhall community.
The BCVA project partnership includes: Guru Teg Bahadur Gurdwara, St Luke’s Primary School, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Wolverhampton City Archives and the University of Wolverhampton.
‘It’s an East meets West story, where the classic English pub with its ales, dart, dominos & sports meets Punjabi food and Bhangra music. Asian landlords have been salvaging the struggling pub trade by reinventing failed pubs as independent businesses reaching out to a wide range of customers from the Black Country’s diverse communities. What started as a safe-haven for young Asian pub goes in the 70s has blossomed into a unique Black Country success story.’ – Creative Black Country
We are excited to be working alongside six local artists at eight different Desi Pubs in the Black Country. Working closely with the ‘Pub Family’ made up of landlords, staff and regulars BCVA will create a series of portraits at The Sportsman and The Island Inn, both in West Bromwich. This will culminate in an exhibition and in May.
'Desi pubs' is a fantastic story for the Black Country! Pubs now in the hands of many South Asian landlords represent the changing landscape of the Black Country and yet they serve all sections of their communities. Black Country Visual Arts is very happy to photograph and document the rise of the 'Desi pub'. As a feature project, utilising photographic art that communicates the truth of this story and its history is perfect for the project' - Anand Chhabra - BCVA
You can find out more about the project at www.creativeblackcountry.co.uk
Black Country Visual Arts ground breaking arts project makes headlines in local press. The double page article highlights the importance of the project within the community and goes on to interview some of the participants. This was an opportunity for them to tell their stories first hand. Award winning author Sathnam Sanghera said he was pleased to see that Black Country Visual Arts was attempting to tell migrants stories through its Exodus project.
As part of Black Country Visual Arts artists Anand Chhabra and Sarvjit Sra have worked closely with first generation migrants of South Asian origin in Wolverhampton. They have created a collection of photographs by carefully selecting and scanning the personal albums of 17 families.
Within the main gallery space (ground floor) the artists have on display 12 recent portraits of migrants that arrived in the 1960’s. The participants are holding some of the earliest images of themselves along with descendants holding images commemorating family members who have passed on since arrival.
The Community Gallery (first floor) houses the collection of scanned black and white images that represent the communities that we have reached as part of our research. The images show a community at social and cultural events in those early days.
Through this method of scanning and taking new photographic portraits the aim of the artists has been to tell a story of what people looked like then and now. We have set out our exhibition to create an imprint on our audience about a group of migrants who put down roots, integrated with life, work and play around them, making a lasting impact to the city.
Going forward our aim is to create an installation called ‘Arrivals Hall’ which will consist of a life size airport luggage conveyor belt carrying the black and white images. This will be a touring installation with an actual rotating conveyor belt with printed images. The moving belt signifies the arrival and onward movement of a people. The installation will include a separate series of current portraits of the participants.
We would like to thank the following for their support during our research: Arts Council England, Multistory, Wolverhampton City Archives, Bantock House Museum, BM Autoparts, Humjoli Ladies Group (Dunstall), Kaleidoscope Group (Pennfields), St Chads Ladies Group (Cherry St), Park Village Ladies Group (Park Village).