Back Home – Friction Arts

Friction Arts are bringing their ‘Back Home’ project to the Old Print Works, Balsall Heath.

We all have a ‘back home’, whether it’s Mombasa, Karachi, Kingston or Smethwick, there’s somewhere that we recognise as being where we originate from. It may be where we live now, or were born, or even somewhere we’ve never been. Back Home is an exhibition of black and white portraits of diverse Brummies, captured by legendary photographer Vanley Burke, at places across the city where they feel at home.

You can hear stories attached to each photograph about people’s ‘Back Home’ simply by scanning the QR code beneath the portraits with your smartphone camera and clicking the link that appears – for the best experience we advise you to use headphones, where possible.

Back Home explores what it means to belong somewhere, and how people feel about where they are now, and celebrates the individual stories of people in our Brummie melting pot.

How were you? – How are we?

Since May 2021, we’ve been visiting places where people meet in Birmingham like in the street, the markets and local shopping centres and asking people ‘How Were You?’ to find out about people’s experiences of the last couple of years. Whilst we chat with people, artist Ben Jones draws cartoon portraits of them, then adds their words, thoughts, and ideas to the finished portrait. You can see some of them exhibited here.

It’s been an extraordinary privilege to hear people’s stories of our recent times. We’ve been finding out how the pandemic, Black Lives Matter and the wider political landscape have affected their lives, and how they’ve managed to navigate their way through.

We are now asking ‘How Are We?’ continuing open conversations on where we are all now and what people think ‘a’ future looks like.

Exhibition and event dates: The Old Printworks, 498-506 Moseley Road B12 9AH

October 4th-14th 2022 Open Monday-Saturday 12pm-4pm. There will be a special free event on Friday 14th October 6:30-8:30pm talk and discussion with photographer Vanley Burke, and artist Ben Jones. Please book/RSVP your free place via