Dorcas Stories from the Front Room celebrates 75 years of Windrush, tracing its history and future legacy through stories of textile crafts and fashion, Dorcas Clubs and the symbolic ‘Caribbean front room’.
For many of the Windrush generation their crafting stories decorate the front room but are also made in the front room. This is especially seen through textile networks such as the Dorcas Clubs, which operated in the Black-led churches, many of which have roots in Birmingham.
The exhibition was co-curated with Rose Sinclair.
You can see the exhibition at the Mailbox, Level 2, 7 Commercial Street, Birmingham, B1 1RS.
from 23 September to 29 October 2023. Open Weds – Sun, 1-6pm.
The exhibition is free.
Support Craftspace by making a donation.
The exhibition journeys through three distinct spaces and time zones, from the arrival of The Empire Windrush in 1948 through several decades later to where Windrush descendants, contemporary creatives repurpose their craft inheritance to claim identity and cultural expression.
Exhibits include: re-constructed Windrush landing cards, archival material, domestic textiles, historical garments, photographs, contemporary textiles/fashion and a collectively made community textile, audio stories and film.
The exhibition includes work by photographer Vanley Burke, Althea McNish, Tihara Smith, Daniel Gayle and Norma Banton.
It also features a collectively made textile artwork made with Caribbean residents at Pannel Croft Retirement Village in Birmingham and artists Dawn Denton and Annette Ratti. It depicts their work roles, professions and that of their families, building a picture of the impacts and reach of Caribbean people on public life and culture in the UK.