Using public sculpture, film, workshops, and community gardening with women’s groups, We gather and dream of new congregations seeks to address issues surrounding use and ownership of land and to aid in the much-needed healing of our Birmingham community.
Commissioned by Birmingham 2022 Festival, this long-term visual project seeks to ask questions about our commonality and the effectiveness of grassroots community building, direct community action and positive healing gardening practices, whilst addressing the wider issues of poverty and inclusion. With Birmingham being the second most culturally diverse city in the UK, we see a need, now more than ever, for art to anchor itself in sustenance, healing, witness, and critique. As the location of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Birmingham is an ideal scenario to examine the significance of its colonial history, especially as it relates to the Commonwealth Immigrants Act.
Designed by fabrication studio MJM Bespoke (Birmingham), Grand Union’s gallery will be transformed into an active apothecary that holds space for healing and restoration through a programme of events and weekly gatherings. The exhibition will bring together Alberta Whittle’s two newly commissioned films – a culmination of 18 months of research, conversations & interviews, existing as an inquiry into cultural amnesia that considers lived conditions and experiences under a hostile environment. The exhibition features our long-term collaborative work with a group of women who are a part of The Minerva Apothecary Garden – we have been building resilience through workshops, using the concept of congregation to consider notions of freedom and long-term healing.