Film Screening: Sistren Theatre Collective ‘Sweet Sugar Rage’ (1985)

Join us at Grand Union for a screening of ‘Sweet Sugar Rage’, a film by Sistren Theatre Collective’ (1985), presented as part of Cinenova’s ‘The Work We Share’ programme.

Cinenova’s ‘The Work We Share’ is a national public programme of newly digitised films from the Cinenova collection addressing representations of gender, race, sexuality, health and community. The films are captioned by Collective Text, and supported by response commissions from contemporary artists and writers.

We will host their newly digitised film, Sweet Sugar Rage by Sistren Theatre Collective (1985, 43 minutes) alongside a new commission by artist Natasha Bonnelame inspired by the work.

Sweet Sugar Rage exposes the exploitation of women’s labour in Jamaica’s sugar cane fields and shares the themes and methods of Sistren’s workshops and theatre in the context of their wider efforts in education, employment rights and community activism.

There will be two screenings at 6-7pm and 7.30-8.30pm.

Book a seat on Eventbrite HERE

The Age of Dreamers is Over

In collaboration with Grand Union, the MA Art History and Curating course at University of Birmingham presents The Age of Dreamers is Over: a group show navigating the historical scales of anthropogenic* rupture, as well as the potential for collective healing.

This immersive exhibition brings together interactive sculpture, sound, and light works from artists Louise Beer, Jack Lewdjaw, and Mina Heydari-Waite. Unified by the idea of the night and darkness as a site of creative energy and potential growth, the three artists included in this exhibition have examined forms of rupture from the climate crisis; to revolution and colonialism; to the decay of the English high street. Reflecting upon the notion of ruination and rebuilding, The Age of Dreamers is Over serves to explore the impact of human hands on one another and on the very world we live in – if we have the capacity to destroy then we can also attempt to mend and create.

*Anthropogenic: originating in human activity.

Congregation (Creating Dangerously Remix) BOTHY launch

Grand Union Gallery and British-Barbadian artist Alberta Whittle are collaboratively embarking on a long-term visual art project to aid in the much-needed healing of our Birmingham community. Using public sculpture, film, workshops, and community gardening with women’s groups, we seek to address issues surrounding use and ownership of land, and use congregation to consider notions of freedom and long-term healing.

We will be launching a large outdoor sculpture – a ‘bothy’- for people to use as a place for shelter and rest in the Minerva Apothecary Garden. Working with Midlands-based women’s organisations, we have grown The Minerva Apothecary Garden adjacent to our gallery space, full of healing herbs and plants.

Dark Room: San Francisco Sex and Protest 1988-2003

Join Phyllis Christopher, Grand Union and Book Works on Friday 4th March at Grand Union to mark the end of the Heads and Tails exhibition and celebrate the launch of the long-awaited Dark Room: San Francisco Sex and Protest, 1988–2003.

Phyllis Christopher’s fearless and tender photographs fuse lesbian sex and queer protest against the backdrop of a city in flux. Relocating to San Francisco from her hometown Buffalo in the late-1980s, Christopher began to collaborate with her subjects to make images in which documentary and performance converge.

Dark Room brings together fifteen years of Christopher’s work, negotiating street, club, and studio, with camera in hand, to compose a portrait of a community simultaneously defining radical articulations of queer lesbian sexuality and defending its bodily autonomy in the face of right-wing politics, the AIDS crisis and urban gentrification.

Reproducing photographs of startling intensity and sensuality alongside new writing by Susie Bright, Laura Guy, Michelle Tea and an interview with Shar Rednour, Dark Room is a heartfelt record of Christopher’s devotion to an analogue tradition, to the pleasures of photographs and the community that made them.

The Field Commission: Launch and Artist Talk with Asad Raza

122 Fazeley Street, B5 5RT, Grand Union Canal (adjacent to Junction Works)

Please note: event outdoors, booking not essential.

Join us on Digbeth First Friday, 5 – 6pm for an introduction to the first Field Commission with artist Asad Raza.

Since 2019 Grand Union has been working on the refurbishment of Junction Works, the former Canal Offices in Digbeth. Artist duo Cooking Sections have been guiding this process through their interventions on the site in their Empire Remains Shop programme. The next phase of this project is The Field Commission: the adoption of a canalside field site for twelve-month artistic commissions in collaboration with Canal and River Trust.

In this informal talk, Asad will introduce Reabsorption, a new work focussing on a unique form of soil remediation. Working with soil scientists, architects, and community members, Asad is continuing to study the existing soil to determine its toxicity and created a recipe for a ‘neosoil’ specifically designed to dilute this toxicity.

Heads and Tails by Phyllis Christopher

Join us 6 – 8pm for a late opening of ‘Heads and Tails’ by Phyllis Christopher.

Phyllis was based in San Francisco from 1988, and was photo editor of On Our Backs, a lesbian erotica magazine, from 1991-1994. During this time, she sensitively captured many gender expressions, moments of protest and moments of queer intimacy in the face of censorship and extreme homophobia at the time.

Grand Union is delighted to be working with Phyllis Christopher on a solo exhibition of her work. Drawing from the surrounding queer community and her personal connections, her images depict lesbian pleasure, sex positivity and political movements.

Phyllis Christopher : Heads and Tails (solo exhibition)

Drawing from the surrounding queer community and her personal connections, Phyllis Christopher’s images depict lesbian pleasure, sex positivity and political movements. The show at Grand Union will focus on the ‘heads and tails’ of her published work, blurring the lines of her personal collection and commercial shooting, showcasing queer collectivity and joy.

No booking necessary, however to maintain access for all, there will be a restricted capacity within the gallery and we are encouraging all staff, volunteers and our visitors to maintain social-distancing. For up-to-date information about visiting Grand Union, please visit our website.

Heads and Tails: a solo show by Phyllis Christopher

Drawing from the surrounding queer community and her personal connections, Phyllis Christopher’s images depict lesbian pleasure, sex positivity and political movements. The show at Grand Union will focus on the ‘heads and tails’ of her published work, blurring the lines of her personal collection and commercial shooting, showcasing queer collectivity and joy.

No booking necessary, however to maintain access for all, there will be a restricted capacity within the gallery and we are encouraging all staff, volunteers and our visitors to maintain social-distancing. For up-to-date information about visiting Grand Union, please visit our website.

Heads and Tails: a solo show by Phyllis Christopher

Drawing from the surrounding queer community and her personal connections, Phyllis Christopher’s images depict lesbian pleasure, sex positivity and political movements. The show at Grand Union will focus on the ‘heads and tails’ of her published work, blurring the lines of her personal collection and commercial shooting, showcasing queer collectivity and joy.

No booking necessary, however to maintain access for all, there will be a restricted capacity within the gallery and we are encouraging all staff, volunteers and our visitors to maintain social-distancing. For up-to-date information about visiting Grand Union, please visit our website.