Speaking for Ourselves

Blacklash Exhibition @ Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Blacklash Exhibition @ Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Salman Mirza

 Migrant Voice - Blacklash Exhibition @ Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery


Migrant Voice members organised and attended a guided tour of Blacklash: Racism and the Struggle for Self-Defence.

From the mid-80s and over a period of two decades and across some of the UK's major inner-cities, Mukhtar Dar, co-curator of the exhibition, documented the struggles of Asian and African Caribbean communities against the pernicious and pervasive tidal wave of street and state racism.

blacklash exhibition  birmingham museum and art gallery

Above: an attentive group follows the exhibition tour.


As a founding member of the Sheffield Asian Youth Movement and later joining the Birmingham Asian Youth Movement, Dar became the unofficial artist of the largest grassroots movement in the history of the UK’s South Asian communities.

Members who have been part of the visa fees campaign listened and discussed old and new campaigns for justice.

blacklash exhibition  birmingham museum and art gallery

Above: exhibition co-curators Mukhtar Dar and Raj Pal (first and third from left) with Migrant Voice's Salman Mirza and MV member Takesh Hibbert.


"It was a real joy and privilege for Mukhtar Dar and I as co-curators of this exhibition at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (UK), to host a group visit by Migrant Voice," said Raj Pal, the exhibition co-curator. "The visit started with about 16 people and kept evolving throughout our guided tour, as late comers and general visitors also joined in out of curiosity. By the end, we had about 40 people tagging along. But that wasn't even the best thing about the visit."

He went on: "The group by the end was a visible reflection of multicultural Birmingham. People asked questions and many shared their own reflections and experiences. At a time when narrow identity politics can often box us in ways that we fail to see the bigger picture, those on the tour could clearly see how the toxic nature of racism cuts across narrow boundaries and distinctions."

blacklash exhibition  birmingham museum and art gallery

Above: Migrant Voice members Takesh Hibbert and Tamara Francis


"You have to support the causes you believe in, that's why I attended this exhibition talk," said Migrant Voice member, Tamara Francis, who is campaigning for a more just route to settle in the UK. Tamara has been living in the UK since she was a child and is still going through the process.

The exhibition is on until the 30th October at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

Photos by Salman Mirza.

Get in touch

Migrant Voice
VAI, 200a Pentonville Road,
N1 9JP

Phone: +44 (0) 207 832 5824
Email: [email protected]

Registered Charity
Number: 1142963 (England and Wales); SC050970 (Scotland)

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