My Hijab is My Crown – Exhibition by Laura Gale

My Hijab is My Crown – Exhibition by Laura Gale

December 11th to December 23rd

These portraits are part of a study of young Muslim women and their interpretation of the hijab. To these girls, their headscarves make them feel liberated and give them freedom. It is most definitely their own choice to wear it.

I wanted the photographs to show the variety of shapes and styles created by each girl with their scarves. Over time, fashion and trends have influenced how the hijab is worn, and this combined with tradition, culture and an individual desire for subtle self-expression has resulted in endless unique styles. These girls are not the shapeless forms portrayed by right-wing media, but wonderfully individual, creative, and most importantly to them, modest, young women.

“My hijab is my crown. When I’m at home I don’t have it on. My hijab gives me my freedom; it doesn’t take it away.”

“Wearing a hijab in a mostly non-Muslim society may be challenging, but this is a positive point because it strengthens one’s personality.”

“I wear it to maintain modesty. In Arabic, it means ‘to cover’ – to cover beauty, which should only be seen by my family and significant other.”

“To me it means being part of something bigger, and also feeling close to others who wear hijabs.”

“I didn’t know the meaning of it when I was younger – I just wanted to look like my Mum. However, now I feel like it helps me stay within my boundaries. I like the way others admire my level of modesty. I feel respected.”

The portraits here are Chemigrams. They were originally taken using a digital camera, but then all the subsequent processes are experimental techniques using traditional photographic darkroom paper and chemicals. It is a hands-on method that produces an otherworldly aesthetic, and requires an understanding of photographic materials. Each image is an original and is dictated by a mixture of calculation and chance. They are cosmic, yet small-scale; a hybrid, but cannot be classified as either a photograph or photogram. Hard to define, and more like paintings than photographs; made up of gestured marks and analogue processes.

The portraits are presented as a typology, in a grid format where you are compelled to compare and contrast. The girls have been remade as silhouettes, but not to be shape-less, but to be shape-full. A single bold outline draws your eye to the distinctiveness of each contour, and the sometimes gravity defying folds of fabric. Taking on the appearance of an elegant Victorian cameo, you cannot tell where the scarf begins and where it ends.

Shadows Wandering – Photography Exhibition by Gunhild Thomson

Coming soon in 2020: January 6th to January 31st

Each art work consists of a series of photos taken on one sunny day in May or August 2019. The images show 2 different locations in Handsworth/Birmingham: Handsworth Park and Bacchus Park.

Starting shortly after sunrise the artist returned to the same locations at regular intervals (every 1 and ½ or every 2 hours) to take a photo from exactly the same point of view until shortly before sunset. Over the course of the day the shadows grow, shrink and grow again and wander from one side to the other.

The Bike Project

We are now a drop-off point for The Bike Project!

The Bike Project takes second-hand bikes, fixes them up and donates them to refugees and asylum-seekers.

The UK is bursting with opportunities – but it’s also expensive. Especially when you’re a refugee trying to navigate the complex asylum process on just £37 a week. The Bike Project believes that no one should have to choose between eating a square meal and catching the bus. That’s why The Bike Project gives donated bikes.

Having fled persecution and atrocity in their country of origin, most refugees arrive in the UK with absolutely nothing. A bike helps access food banks, legal advice, healthcare, education and much more. If lucky enough to receive official refugee status, a bike can help to find employment.

As one bike beneficiary puts it:
“When you have to go from charity to charity to feed yourself, a bike becomes very important to your life.”

To Donate a Bike

The Bike Project relies on a steady flow of donated bikes from members of the public. A small proportion of the bikes get sold to fund the charity.

We’re really pleased the Moseley Exchange is now a bike drop-off point for The Bike Project.

You can bring an old bike to us at any time during our regular opening hours of 8.30am to 7pm weekdays; no need to make an appointment.

We accept whole kids’ and adults’ bikes, not parts or accessories. A whole bike is defined as having all or almost all of the components, including both wheels, no broken frames and no more than 25% rust. The bike must not have a bent or cracked frame.

We’ll ask you to fill in a Gift Aid donation form if possible, or you can fill in the form online at: Bike Project Gift Aid form>

Find out more about The Bike Project>