Female Force is the title given to a selection of photographs taken of statues by Najma Hush. These images been manipulated by the process of multi-layering, to modernise and re-present, a few and various neoclassical and classical sculptures, from the fresh perspective of a digital age. Currently exhibiting at Urban Coffee Company (Church Street, Birmingham, B3 2NP. UK. ), from April 6th – May 3rd 2014).
Urban Coffee Company is a rather sophisticated cafe in the metropolis of Birmingham. Not only do they boast great coffee, good enough to sate any coffee snobs passion, but they also hold many different live events. Furthermore, their cosy upstairs arena , consistently rotates fine art and photography by artist from the city, which is organised by Alexandria Art, who provide exhibiting platforms for emerging artist in various location around the city.
With the exhibition open day for Female Force, held last Saturday (12th April’ 14), Najma Hush hosted her very own launch event, having invited Poets and Musicians to also platform their own skills and celebrate her latest solo exhibition. Here is a short review, recording the events proceedings, including photographs of the poets and musicians who came to support this event with further links to their works, to make it easier for you to find them.
The event started off with a small crowd and moved at a slow pace, fairly early for any Saturday morning, but as the event proceeded more and more people joined to contribute a buzz to the initial relaxed atmosphere. The show commenced, with a brief introduction from the artist about herself and the concept behind the exhibition, before she passed over the duty of hosting to Andrea Shorrick, a local poet and performer herself, who introduced the first public speaker, Kathryn Day from Women’s Networking Hub. This organisation had shown much support for Hush’s exhibition open day, by promoting it through a lot of their internal sources, due to the close work they do with all kind of women in enterprise, connecting women with other women and essentially building a strong network of associations. They also work closely with Malala Yousafzai to gain funds for her projects to eradicate social/gender inequality and so Hush invited them to invite the women present, to join their network.
The first poet to perform was Dani Papamaximou from Greece, who recited a couple of which she had translated into English from her native tongue. With some dark overtones, her work was mainly refreshing and light as she shared her experience on being a women .
Next up was a poet another young and very talented poet and artist from Walsall, Neth Brown who shared a melancholy poem about her mother and experiences on the theme of gender traditions and female sexuality.
Nina Lewis, was the following act, who had traveled all the way from Worcestershire and had actually written poems especially to go with Hush’s images, which she had viewed online. Her poems were as impressive as usual as showed her dexterous skill with language.
Next up was Sammy Joe, who humorously insisted on taking her coffee on stage, swigging and spilling it in a sleepy haze. But even before she had finished reciting her very short, blunt and feisty poem, in a fashion that was no less than fierce, she had trotted off again, sleepily leaving the audience wide awake and hungry for more.
The crowd was then greeted by the colourful personality of Saleha Begum, a poet and artist decisively stating that she would be reading her most intense works, from her book, Raptures and Fragments, which she did!
As the crowd deserved ‘A Pick Me Up’ that’s exactly what they got with Aysha Begum’s poem, ‘Just a Little Pick Me Up’
And just before the interval, Andrea Shorrick left the crowd holding their breath during her performance, when she began to undress, stripping away her clothes solemnly, wrapping herself up in a street no entry banners and smearing her face with yellow paint as she recited her poem on domestic abuse.
During the interval it seemed that a lot more people had woken up and the place became more alive with people. The atmosphere was buzzing as the crowd was led back into the second half, where Najma Hush opened the show, reciting her own epic poem on social equality for women, just before she introduced the musical act for the event a very talented young singer song writer, Jane James. Her voice is emotive and she can switch her pitch going from smooth to boom!
Jaden Larker, otherwise known as Seasick Fist, who was also a speaker for TEDxBrum on International Women’s day (2014), was the only man who had been brave enough to perform his views on women, with his confident delivery, he certainly knows how to keep the crowds attention.
A hard act to follow, which certainly she did do and without any exceptions, it was again Andrea Shorrick but this time, as her ultra ego, Swingerella, with stories from her bed, which included chocolate hearts, pink bunnies, vodka in a tea pot and box of sugar puffs, to name…just a few things. It was meant to be funny, but again, the audience were holding they’re breath…
It was also a great pleasure to see and hear, Jasmin Gardosi perform her poem sultry poem on lesbian love and love bites. Gardosi is also a TEDxBrum speaker (2014) and she runs the official Poets Place.
And to close the show in class one of the final special guest was, Charlie Jordan, Birmingham Poet Laureate (2007 ) – representing our city – with some groping poetry, in a style, solely unique to her. The event then came to a close with the first ever Female poet laureate of Birmingham, Julie Boden and current Poet in residence at Symphony Hall who wowed the crowed with 10 minutes of such beautiful poetic magic.
Here are the photographs of all the above performers: