Nation’s second city comes to life: The City of Colours Festival
Guest post by Xavier Walker
City of Colours was a lively street art festival hosted at Digbeth’s Custard Factory in Birmingham on Saturday. The day brought together a variety of visual and performance artists from a wide array of backgrounds. The overriding intentions of the day were to celebrate culture and share creative endeavours.
Showcased were a series of graffiti artists’ freshly sprayed masterpieces. We took delight in watching the bright shapes and colours come to life on the walls of the side roads and back streets.
For those who are less familiar with the Custard Factory, the walls are usually strewn with vibrant colours, accented by intricate sculptures and such. However, the day gave light to new pieces that more than compliment the previously existing creations.
Framed artwork was also on sale in the market hall, where traders also sold baked goods, clothing, and accessories. One of my favourite stalls was mOmhead, which sold women’s clothing and accessories branded with inspiring quotes promoting female empowerment.
Adjacent to the market hall was a small room that allowed the public to make their own mark – literally – by signing and/or drawing on the doodle walls. White sheets of plastic covered a couple walls, joined by a strip of canvas material, upon which attendees could use the provided markers to add a splash of colour to the scene.
The event was not only a celebration of visual artwork – artists of a performance background also shared their talents. B-boys claimed the stages as they battled for bragging rights, setting the crowds ablaze with excitement and energy. Although we didn’t make it in time to watch, poets had brought along their work to share with audiences in Birmingham. From the calibre of artistic talent in the aforementioned mediums, I feel inclined to believe that the poems would have touched those privileged enough to experience the carefully chosen words come to life.
After sampling some of the various pieces and acts, we headed to the food area. On offer were Caribbean cuisine, Mexican street food, and a dessert stand. Keeping the crowd buzzing whilst they ate was a playlist of old school RnB and garage classics, played by DJ, Marcus SuperBamz. Dancing to the beat of his tunes was a special performance form Britain’s Got Talent contestant, Dunja. After her high-speed spectacle of hula-hooping, Dunja invited children to join in the fun, adding to the family-friendly atmosphere.
The event, overall, brought inspiration and vibrancy to the day and shone a light on the second city, reflecting the impact and diversity all that Birmingham has to offer.