Birmingham photographer Vanley Burke’s exhibition celebrating working class and migrant communities is now open to the public at Handsworth Library.

Ikon Gallery is touring the critically-acclaimed photography exhibition at a location in Handsworth that is familiar to the Birmingham photographer. 

Vanley Burke – often described as the ‘Godfather of Black British Photography’ – is an artist, photographer and curator whose archive, surveying the Black British experience, is held at the Library of Birmingham.

Burke’s current exhibition – A Gift to Birmingham – first went on show at the Ikon Gallery earlier this year, and is now on tour at Handsworth Library.

The material is currently on display at Handsworth Library and features warm and engaging portraits of members of a national organisation called Migrant Voice which has a hub in Birmingham near the Aston Villa football ground.

Ikon Gallery is showcasing photographic documentation of migrant communities in Birmingham, by renowned photographer Vanley BurkeVanley Burke
Handsworth Library is showcasing photographs of migrant communities in Birmingham, by renowned photographer Vanley Burke

The remarkable images in the exhibition all tell stories of migration, some from the past and some more recent, and each picture is fuelled by humanity in dark times.

The seventeen photographs represent a vibrant reflection of Birmingham as a beautiful and diverse city that welcomes people from all parts of the world.

Visitors from the teaching profession who attend the free exhibition at Handsworth Library will be able to access educational packs for Key Stages 1, 2, and 3. The packs can also be downloaded from the Ikon Gallery’s website.

The material in the packs is designed by artist Haseebah Ali and includes topics on culture, race, religion, language, and identity. Students will be able to engage in various activities which are geared to stimulate debate and get young minds to explore themes and concepts beyond the photography exhibition.

These resources are intended for practical application, in dismantling of hostile environments and creating safe spaces, to promote an anti-racist agenda within and beyond the classroom.

Handsworth Library will host the free exhibition until 31 March 2023. Please check library opening times before planning your visit over the festive period.

Vanley Burke – A Gift to Birmingham – is now on display at Handsworth Library, Soho Road, Handsworth, Birmingham, B21 9DP 

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