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Ikon organised an exciting array of music, dance and visual events, celebrating the work of artists Dayanita Singh and Beatriz Milhazes. This was part of an audience development project in conjunction with Birmingham Arts Marketing, which aimed to develop South Asian audiences for the gallery.

Ikon also arranged two outreach projects that took place throughout April 2001 to develop relationships with particular groups in the local community. The first of these projects involved artist Surjit Simplay working with Bearwood Primary School using black and white photography to produce a series of portraits. These charming images then formed an exhibition in Ikon’s Resource Room during the celebratory weekend.

Punch Records ran a series of DJ workshops for young people at the gallery. The group looked at rapping and the history of garage music, relating their process of sampling and mixing to the vibrant paintings on show by Beatriz Milhazes. Artist Simon Webb also worked with the young DJs to produce a backdrop of slides and images relating to the music.

This outreach work culminated in a showcase during the weekend. The Dhol Blasters kick started the event with a blast of loud drumming outside the gallery and children from Bearwood Primary School brought their families and friends to their own private view. Dancer Aruna Pun also gave a stunning performance, incorporating the traditional with the new.

A sitar and tabla musical performance was presented by students from South Birmingham Colleg and was accompanied by a group of women singing South Asian prayer songs. In the Events Room, Surjit Simplay and photographer Claudette Holmes had a constant stream of people queuing to have a ‘family portrait’ taken. Poet Semba Jallow-Rutherford read a selection from his many poems and haikus, written in response to the exhibitions.

The weekend was a great success, not least due to the support given by a panel of volunteers from the local Asian community who were part of the BAM Networking Project steering group.