Pogus Caesar, Benjamin Zephaniah and the Handsworth Riots

Artist Pogus Caesar and poet Benjamin Zephaniah light the city with photography and rhyme as large posters framing the Handsworth Riots remind passers-by of the importance of compassion, in the light of Brexit.

Pogus Caesar, Benjamin Zephaniah and the Handsworth Riots

Out on the streets of Birmingham

Two ‘Sons of Birmingham’, Pogus Caesar - artist and Artimage member - and poet Benjamin Zephaniah are luminaries of art and conscience. Their new project, Handsworth 1985 Revisited frames and pulls into focus Birmingham’s devastating Handsworth Riots through a series of billboards and street displays, some 20 x 10 ft.

Three years in the making, Handsworth 1985 Revisited aligns Pogus Caesar’s striking black and white photographs, characterised by their personal and tactile 35mm graininess, with Benjamin Zephaniah’s engaging, rhythmic poems.

Scattered throughout this resilient city, these posters offer a timely and provocative walk through of events which, in the light of Brexit, offer a sobering reminder of how easily ignorance, inequality and injustice begets social unrest.

WORK Handsworth 1985 Revisitedjpg1004

The Handsworth Riots

The Handsworth Riots epitomised a violent and traumatic moment in Birmingham’s history, when race tensions, high unemployment rates and the arrest and police raid of local establishments led to fierce rioting - even fire bombs - over a period of three days.

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Caesar documents prominent figures and historical events, often reworking his 35mm negatives into new forms. Challenging the notion of religion, sex, history and identity from a Black British perspective, his works are considered an important visual record of black history.

Browse Pogus Caesar’s photography collection here.

In 2018 Caesar was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Birmingham City University for his outstanding contribution to the visual arts.

OVERTIME Handsworth 1985 Revisited 1004

The exhibition Handsworth 1985 Revisited was produced and curated by flyingleaps and YourSpaceOrMine.

Browse more Pogus Caesar images below:

God Aim Destiny 2017 Pogus Caesar
God Aim Destiny, 2017
Sonia Boyce Handsworth Birmingham 1983 Pogus Caesar

Sonia Boyce, Handsworth, Birmingham, 1983
Untitled 2017 Pogus Caesar

Untitled, 2017
Brain Too Big 2015 Pogus Caesar
Brain Too Big, 2017

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Images: Pogus Caesar & Benjamin Zephaniah © Pogus Caesar/OOM Gallery Archive. All Rights Reserved 2019; WORK, Pogus Caesar & Benjamin Zephaniah © Benjamin Zephaniah, Pogus Caesar/OOM Gallery Archive. All Rights Reserved 2019; OVERTIME, Pogus Caesar & Benjamin Zephaniah © Benjamin Zephaniah, Pogus Caesar/OOM Gallery Archive. All Rights Reserved 2019.

All below images © Pogus Caesar/OOM Gallery Archive. All Rights Reserved, DACS/Artimage 2019.
God Aim Destiny, 2017; Sonia Boyce, Handsworth, Birmingham, 1983; Untitled, 2017; Brain Too Big, 2015.