Published on July 14th, 2019 | by John OMeara1
CELEBRATION IN HARD TIMES: LOZELLS COMMUNITY ART AND CRAFT SHOW
Lozells is in many ways the most tight-knit corner of Handsworth, where successive generations have committed to staying put and contributing, supported by an equally committed range of institutions. But here too the long-term effects of austerity policies are felt, and 2019 has seen people needing to dig deep to maintain a positive momentum.
The recent Lozells Community Awards demonstrated the attention to detail, and care, which ensures that key residents and professionals remain part of the unfolding local story in the face of mounting pressures. The Lozells Community Art and Craft Show (at Lozells Methodist Community Centre) last week, and some of its most loyal exhibitors, did the same.
Three local schools, and a nursery, had to drop out at the last minute as a result of curriculum and practical pressures as we near the end of term. It seems currently that any kind of activity no matter how enriching, which doesn’t serve the delivery of the core curriculum, must inevitably come under threat.
All credit, then, to Mayfield and Anglesey Schools who did get their work and pupils to the event. I was there as Mayfield visited and was impressed not just by their obvious enjoyment of seeing their own work displayed, but also by the extent of their engagement with the other work on show. Credit also to the LMCC staff, who went ahead with the show in spite of losing their lead artist and curator Eddy Aigbe (click Eddy Aigbe) due to illness.
Leaders of sewing, art and craft and cake making classes ensured there were exhibits, in spite of funding for these activities having dried up recently, leaving long waiting lists of local people who are really keen to take part.
The Feast (click The Feast) contributed from their summer project. Aftab Rahman exhibited two of his photos from his recent ‘Waterways’ project. BCU student Nazmin Hussein brought her final year piece which exposes the absurdity of ‘Punish a Muslim Day’ in 2018. Tabitha and Job Club graduate (now mentor) Nasreen Peano again demonstrated their crochet and design skills. We would have liked to have featured every individual piece of this exuberant exhibition in a ‘gallery’ format, but the automatic ‘cropping’ of images in WordPress (plus our own lack of technical know how) imposes limitations – 10 pieces get less attention here than they deserve, though they were enjoyed no less than the rest.