EXHIBITION REVIEW: Vanley Burke ‘By The Rivers Of Birminam’ (mac Arts, Birmingham)

Since the mid-1960s, Vanley Burke has photographed the Jamaican community in the Handsworth area of Birmingham. ‘By the Rivers of Birminam’ brings together 100 new and existing images for the first time, which explore the history of the Caribbean community in the city from 1967 to present day. Curated by Lynda Morris, the exhibition charts Vanley Burke‟s practice over the last 45 years, during which time he has produced what is considered to be the greatest photographic document of Caribbean people in post-war Britain, detailing the experience of Black people in  the UK and their community identity.

Not only photographs but also press cuttings telling the story of Jamaican immigration to Birmingham, tracking the story of a community that bring such a rich culture to our city. As a more recent migration to the U.K. this contemporary collection is both eye opening and meaningful that takes the viewer through a journey of the unknown migrant looking for a better life by allowing us to see part of their lives through their own eyes but in an environment that’s familiar to the a local Brummie.

Definitely a must see exhibition and best of as with all MAC exhibitions … it’s free! A piece of our history to help us understand the history of the people with live and work with more.

Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Eleni Kypridemos

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