I still can't believe that I was lucky enough to be part of the team that organised and delivered this kick ass event. And the repercussions are still positively flowing though us! (Yes it was over a month ago...yes I am only just catching up on my blog posts now...yes I'm about to get emotional...)
Australian spoken word artist Sukhjit Kaur was touring the UK, and we were lucky to host her here at Impact Hub Birmingham. Sukhjit speaks about faith, femininity and everything in between, and kicked up quite a storm with her performance at the semi finals of Australia's Got Talent. What was planned as a night of awesome poetry, art and discussion turned into something that was just a bit magical. I'm going to get quite gushy here and to be honest I don't even care.
The night was hosted by the fabulous Immy Kaur, and first to grace the stage was some home-grown local talent, whose words and voices managed to reach down withing the audience's gut and cause some pleasant confusion...you know, the kind that meets a recognition somewhere way back in your consciousness. Aliyah Holder, Aliyah Denton, Amerah Saleh, and Lexia Thomlinson sufficiently rocked the stage and their sets to a full house.
The art work of super talented Louise Byng and myself graced the backdrop of the stage, and merchandise was available to purchase from the amazing Momhead (do check them out, they are way more than just an accessories and clothing company.)
Sukhjit's poetry performance, and outright comedy, had us all laughing, crying, and then laughing, and then crying.. you get the idea. Her performance, and presence on stage was a blessing in itself, and lead us into a realm of thoughtfulness and panel discussion that again took things to another level. (and one I had to sit on stage for and participate in, eeek.)
With questions and answers from the host, the audience and panel members, we covered decoloniality, art, faith, being female, being of colour, being artists. We spoke about stories, our narratives, reclaiming that narrative, and living our art, and how we've navigated ambitions and dreams. We delved into our experience of parents and parenting, being daughters, our thoughts on the future, the past, our communities, the diaspora and some home truths. And probably more.
For me personally, having the opportunity to speak for the first time about something that I am so passionate about, and have such warm receptive and captive audience, was an experience too valuable. Yet am so grateful for that space and time in which to contribute and be myself. The evening was inspiring and challenging on so many levels, and brought home the possibilities of what can happen with a bit of faith and female magic interwoven with some badassery. Just amazing!
You can check Instagram and twitter #againstthegrain for reactions from the audience, but to me it felt like honey. Or chocolate. Or salted caramel. And yes, now we're all hungry for more. Stay tuned to social media for the next Art Against the Grain event.
(Flyer by Daniel Blyden and photos by Chris Sadler)