A piece of digital art dubbed the ‘Relaytionship’, created by West Midlands artists and inspired by contributions made by people from across the Commonwealth, will be on display at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery from 6 August. 

294 days in the making, the artwork is a blend of contributions from people across the Commonwealth and has been created to celebrate the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and arts and culture in the West Midlands. 

Originally launched by the Business and Tourism Programme (BATP) – the first economic legacy programme of its kind aligned to the Games, and the first to operate before and after the Games – the Relaytionship was conceived as an ‘unfinished poem’ by spoken word poet and Birmingham native, Amerah Saleh. 

In her poem, Saleh called on people across the Commonwealth to complete the poem and help audio visual artist, Tommy Xiao Ji, transform it into a fluid piece of digital artwork. 

The Relaytionship has been evolving alongside the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay, gathering contributions from those across the Commonwealth answering the question “What does Home and Incredible mean to you?”, which is part of Saleh’s poem.   

The artwork, including the Commonwealth contributions, and the second half of Saleh’s poem, was unveiled today (5 August) at Tourism Day at UK House: The Commonwealth Business Hub. 

The artwork will now be on display at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery until 30 September.  

Amerah Saleh commented:  

“We have been asking communities around the Commonwealth: ‘What does home mean to you? What does incredible mean to you?’ and it is inspiring to see how these responses have shaped the final artwork. As we hoped to demonstrate when we launched the Relaytionship, we are all more connected that you would think. Viewing the final artwork in one of the region’s most iconic venues will be a truly proud moment!” 

Andrew Fowles, Learning & Access Manager, Birmingham Museums Trust, said:  

“Birmingham Museums has a vision to nurture, celebrate and promote the creativity and diversity of Birmingham and the West Midlands in new and interesting formats, with digital arts at the heart of this. 

“The unique piece of hyper hybrid art and its themes of Home and Incredible will help tell Birmingham’s story and its connections to the wider Commonwealth during the international spotlight of the 2022 Games. 

“The Relaytionship will be accessible to the public during the Games at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery between Saturday 6 August and Friday 30 September, and we look forward to seeing it on display.” 

Audio visual artist, Tommy Xiao Ji, said: 

“It has been truly special working on the Relaytionship and seeing first-hand how this artistic celebration has brought communities across the globe together ahead of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. The Relaytionship embodies everything that we know and love about the West Midlands while also reflecting the spirit of other cultures and communities.” 

Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: 

“With its international standing and influence, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery is an ideal location for the Relaytionship to make its homecoming and we look forward to unveiling it to the public in August. 

“The West Midlands is a region bustling with vibrant cities, beautiful countryside, world-class tourism venues, engaging attractions and diverse arts and culture – and there’s never been a better time to visit!” 

The Relaytionship will be unveiled at the museum from Saturday 6 August. To find out more, visit makeitwm.com/relaytionship.  

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Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Museum
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG) first opened in 1885. It is housed in a Grade II* listed city centre landmark building. There are over 40 galleries to explore that display art, applied art, social history, archaeology and ethnography.

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