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Birmingham Sputnik Hub: Benjamin Harris pop up exhibition

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Joel and Danielle's house

110A Alcester Road

Birmingham

B13 8EF

United Kingdom

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Are you a Christian? Are you an artist? Do you live somewhere near Birmingham? Would you like to connect with other Brummy artists who are Christians?

If the answer to these four questions is 'yes', the Birmingham Sputnik Hub is meeting again this term in Moseley.

As usual we will be having lunch together, discussing art and faith and sharing our work (so come prepared).

On top of this, we will be hosting a pop up exhibition by Benjamin Harris. Fresh from its stint at the Holy Biscuit gallery in Newcastle, Benjamin will be bringing a selection of the work from his exhibition 'This is England: Identity and the St George's Flag' and talking through the themes of the work from his unique perspective, living between two very different views of what Englishness represents.

Here is an extract from Benjamin's description of the exhibition:

'This body of work explores my journey of wrestling with ‘Englishness’ through the icon of the St. George’s flag. Growing up in a white, semi-nationalist estate in the Black Country, the English flag was flown from poles and windows alike. For some, the red cross stood for solidarity with servicemen lost in battle and a thankfulness for the luxuries we enjoy today, yet for others it was a reminder of hostility and well established borders even within the English country.

In the present works, the cross of St. George is painted with the artist’s blood. By using blood, I want to highlight the ideas of ‘sacrifice’ wrapped up in national identity. As a child, I would hear of people bleeding and dying for our country - the rich red of the English emblem was seen to stand for a blood-soaked history and the lives lost in protecting the innocent. Yet, to identify as English in any typical sense ties one to the dark history of Empire and oppression.

The works try to represent the conflicting ideas of sacrifice for the working class English today. It is important to note that I am not speaking of being British nor Western, but English. To denote oneself as English, which I do, is a particular thing - I can recall people emphatically describing themselves as English as opposed to British. It is not to be from the UK nor from Great Britain but to be from the economic and power centre of a diminished Empire...

... At its heart, ‘This Is England’ is not an attack on the average patriotic Englishman (or woman), nor is it a rally-cry for allegiance to the state. It is tension. I deeply love parts of England - I consider myself thoroughly English - yet I struggle to see the bloody cross as more than a symbolic weapon when detached from the Middle eastern Jew who suffered on it.'

There will be no fee for the afternoon, but if you think things like this are worthwhile, and would like to help us keep on putting more, please sign up to the Sputnik patrons scheme ( https://sptnk.co.uk/patrons/ )

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Location

Joel and Danielle's house

110A Alcester Road

Birmingham

B13 8EF

United Kingdom

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