Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery – #ThePastIsNow Exhibition

Today I went to an exhibition by the name of #ThePastIsNow at the Birmingham Museum & Arts Gallery with panel speakers such as Dr Morgan Dalphinis, micro-lectures, poetry, dance and conversations centred around the decolonisation of museums whose narratives glorify Empire and in doing so, erase the experiences of colonised people as well as whitewash the crimes committed by colonialists.

When do we reach a stage where people of colour are not used as ‘natural resources’ for projects that are continuously centred around whiteness, limited by frameworks that always revert back to bringing culture to the uncultured?

In the words of co-curator Sumaya Kassim, ‘Too often people of colour are rolled in to provide natural resources – our bodies and our “decolonial” thoughts – which are exploited, and then discarded. The human cost, the emotional labour, are seen as worthy sacrifices in the name of an exhibition which can be celebrated as a successful attempt by the museum at “inclusion” and “decolonising”, as a marker that it – and, indeed, Britain – is dealing with its past.’

Its so important that our stories are permanently embedded in all structures around us to counter the misrepresentation of our narratives in the bid to truly commit towards decolonisation.

Today we witnessed excellent work for this movement, well done to the co-curators- graphic designer, Abeera Kamran; artivist, Aliyah Hasinah; writer, Mariam Khan; cultural activist, Sara Myers; textile designer, Shaheen Kasmani, writer and researcher Sumaya Kassim.who made this happen.

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