The Migrant Festival

Ikon presents the third annual Migrant Festival. A four day programme mixing visual art, music, film and performance, it celebrates the contribution made by refugees and migrants to Birmingham and the UK, whilst bearing witness to the hardships and sacrifices involved.

This year’s festival is closely linked with Osman Yousefzada’s major new installation Infinity Pattern 1 at Selfridges Birmingham. The work is co-commissioned by Selfridges and Ikon, as is an instore exhibition and art trail which, along with new film, poetry and prints by Yousefzada, features the work of three Birmingham artists, Hira Butt, Farwa Moledina and Maryam Wahid, all informed by the experience of migration. Osman Yousefzada also curated Ikon’s first Migrant Festival in 2018.

Selected events

Talk and Screening – Keith Piper and Robert Beckford
Thursday 19 August, 1-2pm, free, via Zoom
Artist Keith Piper discusses his new digital video, A Ship Called Jesus (Redux) (2021) with Professor Robert Beckford, Director, Institute of Climate and Social Justice, University of Winchester and Professor of Black Theology, The Queen’s Foundation, Birmingham. Together they consider the complex relationship between people of African descent and Christianity, and the Blk Art Group’s covert, sometimes nostalgic, sometimes antagonistic, relationship with Black Christianity. This event is supported by Paul Mellon Centre.


Left: Keith Piper. Right: Keith Piper, A Ship Called Jesus (Redux) (2021)

Family workshop – Heirlooms of the Future
Friday 20 August, free
Choose from two sessions, 11am-12pm or 2-3pm
Brindleyplace Pop-Up Garden, Central Square, Brindleyplace
In this creative workshop join artists Margaret Murray and Kirstie Lewis to respond to Permindar Kaur’s work Fallen(1995), currently on display at Ikon. Families can experiment with a variety of textiles, sewing techniques and collage to explore culture and heritage, creating objects referencing the human form. In association with Celebrating Sanctuary Birmingham. This workshop is supported by Brindleyplace.

Talk -Dr Jareh Das and Dr Virginia Nimarkoh on Donald Rodney
Friday 20 August, 1-2pm, free, via Zoom
Dr Jareh Das, curator, and Dr Virginia Nimarkoh, artist, consider the development of Donald Rodney’s artistic practice in the 1990s whilst living with sickle cell disease. The event is chaired by Melanie Pocock, Ikon curator, and features Donald Rodney and Rose Finn-Kelcey’s soundwork Truth, Dare, Double Dare (1996), currently on show at Ikon. This event is supported by Paul Mellon Centre.

Talk – Osman Yousefzada in conversation with Sathnam Sanghera
Friday 20 August, 6-8pm, £5
Gran Café on 1 Selfridges Birmingham
Author and journalist Sathnam Sanghera discusses his new book Empireland (2021) with artist Osman Yousefzada. Through his writing Sanghera demonstrates how so much of what we consider to be modern Britain is actually rooted in our imperial past. It is only by stepping back and seeing where we really come from, that we can begin to understand who we are and what unites us.  This event is supported by Selfridges.


Left: Osman Yousefzada in front of Infinity Pattern 1, Selfridges Birmingham. Right: Sathnam Sanghera

Concert – Nifeco Costa & Babock Djazz
Saturday 21 August, 3-4pm, free
Brindleyplace Pop-Up Garden, Central Square, Brindleyplace  
Singer and guitarist, Nifeco Costa moved to the UK from Guinea Bissau, West Africa via Portugal, where he spent several years performing many events, festivals and making television appearances. Costa formed the band Babock Djazz, bringing together local musicians with origins from around the globe. Expect beautiful melodies, a sweet voice and an infectious Latin groove, guaranteed to get people dancing. In association with Celebrating Sanctuary Birmingham. This concert is supported by Brindleyplace.

For more events see What’s On or read the press release.

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