GET BACK TO THE BACK TO BACKS
Right up your street if you’re a 'Through the Keyhole' type
There’s quite the thrill in nosing around someone else’s living room – the dusk-walkers of lockdown will testify – deciphering the people within through trinkets, furniture and decor. So this new, free exhibition at the Back to Backs is right up your street if you’re a Through the Keyhole type. Home from Home: Wassifa’s 50th Anniversary at Birmingham Back to Backs is a new collaboration between the Mykal Wassifa Brown Heritage Foundation, Blackstory Partnership and the National Trust. Launching as part of Windrush Day celebrations across the city, the exhibition replicates Mykal ‘Wassifa’ Brown’s childhood home in Handsworth, sharing the stories of the Windrush generation and the importance of homes as spaces for identity, creativity and resistance.
Mykal’s room prompts us to consider what home means (deeper than Matt Goss’s insight) and the universality of some of the objects shared across cultures and communities (hands up whose grandparents had the pineapple ice bucket): “What I want people to take away from visiting Home from Home is that we have more similarities than differences. We might look different on the outside, but we are all people and, in this city, we are all Brummies.”
The back room tells the story of Wassifa Soundsystem, the longest performing Soundsystem in the UK. Conceived by Mykal and his friends in 1972, aged just 12, his home became its headquarters. Listening to Jamaican music as a way to celebrate and explore their heritage, Soundsystems are a huge part of Jamaican culture. Over its 50-year history, Wassifa has influenced music and fashion and also become a community and heritage organisation, celebrating African Caribbean heritage and ensuring the community’s stories are recorded.
Now reopened after building repairs, the Back to Backs is the perfect host to Home from Home, as a museum of working people’s lives. See a whole new cultural perspective on the rooms within. All free to explore from now until October 29, though if you want to visit the houses too, you’ll need to book.
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