Highlighting under the radar arts and culture in Birmingham, UK

Ikon Eastside: Under threat

It was very sad to hear that Ikon Eastside is facing closure due to the recent funding cuts (as reported in the Birmingham Post). The space has been open for about 4 years and been in three different locations in Digbeth. It’s most recent and arguably most successful incarnation has been on Fazeley Street, connected to the Fazeley Studios complex. The space has been an important part of the regeneration of the area. Digbeth/Eastside has really started to change in the past few years with the opening of Eastside Projects, Grand Union and the founding of We Are Eastside. The galleries have even started to have  joint openings which really gives a community feel. It would be a real shame for any of the spaces to close. As Nicky Getgood has said on her post about the same subject, she has started to ‘experience local arts in bulk along an informal trail rather than visiting single exhibitions’.

Over the years, the space has hosted some brilliant shows. Here are some of my favourites:

  • Jacques Nimki’s Florilegium, 2007 – Nimki found and catalogued the plants to be found in the industrial Digbeth area. He then produced a field of those specimens which covered the warehouse space. The piece invited the viewer to consider those things that are often overlooked and often regarded as insignificant. Particularly enjoyable was the summer picnic that took place on the field to celebrate the end of the show.
  • Soi Projects’s Island, 2008 – An imaginary 3D island made up of images from Google Earth was presented in the space. Visitors were allowed to walk on the piece and also add glow-in-the-dark stickers to the piece of trees, roads, buildings, billboards etc. The passage of time was simulated through lighting which changed over a 24 minute cycle from night to day. 
  • Florian Hecker, 2010 – Sometimes disorientating electronic sound pieces which questioned the listeners perception of the gallery space as well as their own bodies.

It would be very sad to see Ikon Eastside go. It has helped put Eastside/Digbeth on the map. I feel that culturally, Birmingham needs these smaller galleries to showcase new works and help support up- and-comings, not only artists, but who wish to work in the arts. Fingers crossed!

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One comment on “Ikon Eastside: Under threat

  1. Pingback: Digbeth is Good » Getgood Link: Ikon Eastside: Under threat « More Canals than Venice

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This entry was posted on December 19, 2010 by in Art and tagged , , , .
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