Ahead of the Commonwealth Games, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG) has partially reopened, with five out of 40 exhibitions now available to the public.

The museum, which has been closed since 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, is set to close again in December but is open ahead of the Commonwealth Games which go ahead in the city in July.

Exploring life in Birmingham

The new displays and the museum’s famous Edwardian tearooms are certainly worth a visit, for anyone in the city whether they’re visiting the games or just for locals.

From ‘This is Birmingham’ a captivating collection of work celebrating the city, to ‘Unprecedented Times,’ an exhibition exploring how life has changed through the COVID-19 Pandemic, BMAG’s new exhibitions are strikingly relevant.

The ‘We Are Birmingham’ room. Credit: Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

They highlight diverse experiences of everyday life and create art from the mundane. The ‘This is Birmingham’ exhibition felt like a love letter to Birmingham and its residents. It combines artwork inspired by the cities’ architecture with key historical artefacts like pride banners and family photographs.

A social history of Birmingham

‘The Healing Gardens of Bab’ celebrates expressions of gender, sexuality and family, whilst ‘Blacklash: Racism and the Struggle for Self-Defence’ draws on the artist and activist Mukhtar Dar’s archives of Asian and African Caribbean struggles against racism. In these exhibits, a plethora of diverse voices are represented, forming an eyeopening insight into the social history of Birmingham.

Blacklash: Racism and the Struggle for Self-Defence. Credit: Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Each room combines a multitude of artistic mediums from sculptures and projections to video diaries and painting.

Exhibitions ‘The Que Club’ and ‘Wonderland’ address the impact of key spaces in Birmingham. They explore how cinema, and music venue the Que Club has shaped the city.

These exhibits provide an exciting sneak peek into what we can expect when the museum fully reopens. BMAG is set to fully reopen in 2024 following electrical maintenance.

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