Front and Back Room Exhibition In celebration of Black History Month 2016, Birmingham ...
25 Jun '2017
Birmingham Museum and Arts Gallery: 40 Years of Wassifa Exhibition

Front and Back Room Exhibition

In celebration of Black History Month 2016, Birmingham Museum and Arts Gallery hosted the ‘40 Years of Wassifa Exhibition’. The exhibition was installed by Mykal Wassifa Brown CIC, donning a display representing a 1960s traditional African – Caribbean Front Room. Adjacent to the Front Room was a very artist display of the Back Room, representing the space in which Wassifa Sound System met in the 1970s to strategise; arrange music and develop the sound in preparation for decades entertain the masses. The feedback from visitors of the museum was outstanding, with many from the African – Caribbean Community commenting on the cultural attention to detail. A museum visitor said, “This takes me back! Every house had the Gram in the front room, which was always a room for visitors and best. The fish on the gram; three birds displayed on the wall and pineapple are key features – unforgettable.” The unforgettable front and back room exhibitions evoked memory through textures; colours and careful positioned artefacts. The exhibition evoked reflection; sense of familiarity and captured character alongside feeling. 

Excellence Through Education Display 

Education is an influential feature in the delivery of Wassifa initiatives which was reflected throughout the 40 Years of Wassifa Exhibition. Incorporated into the exhibition was a photographic display of a series of international excursions; youth activities and educational projects delivered through the Wassifa movement.  Mykal said, “It is important that we document our history and help the next generation grow through education. This is essential for the advancement of our community.” 

Elijah Thompson Photography Exhibition

As a participant in the Mykal Wassifa Brown Heritage Foundation, Elijah Thompson began to utilise and advance his media skills. This led to opportunities to capture bubbly presenter, Rebbecca Hemmings, through a lens, as she interviewed icons such as Bunny Johnson on the television set of the Wassifa Caribbean Show. Elijah went on take images of international reggae icons in concert as a Wassifa Photographer. This led to Elijah’s images being exhibited with the 40 Years of Wassifa Exhibition. This was Elijah’s first photography exhibition held in Birmingham.  Solihull College communications officer said, “Well done to media student, Elijah Thompson for having his photography displayed in Birmingham Museum.” Elijah said, “It was a huge accomplishment to see my work on display in the main museum in Birmingham. I felt like a piece of my history was shared and documented for others to reflect on. Mykal has taught me a lot about the importance of quality and documenting history. It was an honour to be a part of this phase in the Wassifa Journey. I hope those seeing the exhibition felt the energy and was left inspired seeing the performances through these images.”

Professional Exhibition 

Museum staff commented on the high quality and professional standard of the entire exhibition. There was noticeable increase of visitors to the museum from African - Caribbean communities and a sense of accomplishment by members of the Mykal Wassifa Brown CIC team. Mykal Brown commented, “We aim to use new spaces which our community wouldn’t naturally access. Many said it was the first time they have visited the museum despite living here all their life.” 


The New Narrative Foundation hosted its first fundraising fashion show in aid of ...
5 Jun '2017
The New Narrative: Fashion Show fundraiser in association with Mercedes Benz

The New Narrative Foundation hosted its first fundraising fashion show in aid of supporting the reduction of child poverty in Birmingham. Founders, Justice Williams MBE and Malikha McDonald teamed up with Mercedes Benz to deliver a quality fashion show at the Birmingham forecourt. 

Modelling Excellence  

  There was an incredible level of support and commitment from residents of Birmingham. Many volunteered to model including nationally recognised Business expert, Joel Blake OBE and local model Sherrell Dillion. Despite this being the first modelling experience for many of the participants, they all delivered with excellence and professionalism. Justice frequently commented on how stunning the models looked and showed great pride in her son for modelling in the children’s categories. 

Sophisticated Fashion Show 

First modelling series saw female models confidently walk the runway wearing stylish outfits which would compliment most social and formal occasion in the winter calendar. This was followed by gasps from the crowd as the models showcased a range of artistic, vibrant dresses and outfits. Finally, the models left the crowd blown away as they modelled some beautiful wedding dresses any bride would be proud to wear.  

Next to hit the stage were children modelling fashionable casual; formal and smart wear as they hit the run way on several occasions with cheers from an excitable crowd. 

The energy was high and an amazing buzz filled the Mercedes Benz Showroom. Finally, male models revealed sportswear; followed by sophisticated evening wear suitable for most formal event or night out with the significant other. 

Capturing the moment though a lens

Elijah Thompson joined a team of photographers of the evening to capture the essence and quality of the evening. This team included established photographer Elijah Philips. The team captured the evening through images including pre-show moments; catwalk action to speeches  and post show discussions. Elijah Thompson said, “I have taken images at a number of live events, but this felt like an amazing stepping stone capturing the detail at such a sophisticated event. It was great to work alongside other photographers, who gained huge respect for and to be involved in such a worthy cause. It was more than simple taking images. We directed the models on pace and where to stand for us to get ‘the shot’”

A few words from the Founders 

The evening ended with heartfelt speeches and a word of thanks from the New Narrative founders to everyone who contributed towards the success of the evening and pledged donations to the foundation. Both beamed with pride at the amazing event in aid of charity and launch of the New Narrative Foundation. 


In the summer 2016, Elijah Thompson had an interesting week journaling some of the ...
4 Jun '2017
A diary through a lens: Cllr Carl Rice, Lord Mayor of Birmingham

In the summer 2016, Elijah Thompson had an interesting week journaling some of the activities in the diary of the Lord Mayor of Birmingham - through a lens.

Pakistan Independence Day 

The week started in Ward End Park at an Mela Event in celebration of Pakistani Independence. The atmosphere was amazing with excited children enjoying the activities; families enjoying the day and a sense of pride of heritage. This was a great opportunity to take images of the horses decorated in the Pakistan flag colours of green and white. Many people crowded the Lord Mayor as he took pictures with local people and as he opened the event with a ribbon cutting, followed by a welcoming speech. One the images taken by Elijah later went on to win a photography competition by Future Leaders who wanted to find an image that represented the diversity of Birmingham.  

BMAG (Birmingham Museum and Arts Gallery)

The following day Elijah attended a private meeting and viewing with Birmingham Museum and Arts Gallery. The Lord Mayor was fascinated with the history; artwork and artefacts. Staff shared how artefacts are preserved from damage and replicated historical paintings for display. 

My Guide, Guide Dogs

Throughout the week there was a range of events and appearances with the cities first citizen. This included attended Queen Elizabeth Hospital, to meet a Guide Dog organisation, who shared their experiences; vision and impact. The Lord Mayor was very impressed and enthused by the dedication of the organisation and how clever the guide dogs were. 

Meeting the Parrot

Elijah had the opportunity to capture the moment the Lord Mayor of Birmingham had a meeting held in the mayor’s office with a Parrot and his handler. This was a very fun meeting and the Lord Mayor was very welcoming with great humour. He commented that the images captured with the parrot where amongst his favourite taken by Elijah. 

Dr Tony Xia, Owner of Aston Villa FC

The highlight of the week came with a surprise visit to the Council House from Dr Tony Xia, the new owner of Aston Villa Football Club. Elijah was fortunate to capture the private meeting with Dr Tony Xia as the Lord Mayor welcomed him to the great city of Birmingham and asked him footy questions. 

It was an privilege for Elijah to capture a week with the Lord Mayor of Birmingham though a lens.  

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