The People of Partition in Birmingham: free exhibition

Soho House, Soho Avenue (off Soho Road), B18 5LB

A free exhibition exploring how people in Birmingham understand the 1947 Partition of India today.

Sampad’s free new exhibition, exploring how different generations living in Birmingham understand the 1947 Partition of India today, has been curated by artist Tasawar Bashir in collaboration with 20 volunteers from the West Midlands who have helped to co-curate and design the display.

Championing local stories and insights the exhibition reveals how people cope under collective displacement, turmoil and changing identities. The artistic response features new work created by the team.

Please note that Soho House is open 11am-4pm, Wednesday to Thursday and the first Sunday of the month. Check birminghammuseums.org.uk for full details.

Produced by Sampad in partnership with Birmingham Museums Trust. Supported by the National Lottery through Heritage Lottery Fund and by The Radcliffe Trust, Grimmitt Trust and Limoges Trust.

Peter Christian, a Sampad intern for the Partition Trail project, reviews the People of Partition in Birmingham exhibition below:

“The People of Partition in Birmingham exhibition, held at Soho House, is concerned not with the political motions or official histories that we find in textbooks but with the individual stories that reveal the human impact of partition.

Upon entering, it is striking how unique the perspective of this exhibition is.

Instead of describing historic events, it invites the viewer to answer questions about their own perception and experience of Partition. For someone without a familial connection to Partition, the exhibition sheds light on a period of British history which I was unfamiliar with (and not wholly proud of). I came away questioning the ethical choices of the British government at that time, and the accepted state-perceptions of history.

The lack of discussion around the subject of Partition is understandable – many have not wanted to talk of their own experience, partly because of the traumatic nature of their experiences. However, the exhibition includes direct accounts of the mass migration triggered by Partition and the resulting challenges, positives and responses which occurred within Birmingham.

For me, the most impressive aspect of the exhibition is that it directs the viewer towards the various links which Partition created between Birmingham and areas of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. These links are represented through fabrics, data visualisation, audio accounts and poetry. The addition of interactive activities for children helps to address the lack of exposure which the topic receives in the mainstream school curriculum and engages a new generation in the lasting legacy of Partition”.

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Location

Soho House, Soho Avenue (off Soho Road), B18 5LB

Tickets

Free entry - no booking required.