Why the Hiatus?

OK, ladies and gents, you might have been asking yourselves what happened to us over the last two years. Not that we think you sit there thinking about us all day, you’ve definitely got better things to do! There has been a hiatus, however, and it’s time to explain.

Let’s break this down: Brum Spirit – Professional Incredibles‘ fabulous cultural exchange between Birmingham and Brazil –  was founded in 2011. Back then, it was known as Espirito Brum, due to our partnership with a Europe wide network of festivals called Espirito Mundo, run by a production company from Brazil.

We ran three editions of Espirito Brum, in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Every year, a whole new bunch of visiting artists came to visit Birmingham, from all over Brazil. They created, performed and shared alongside artists from Brum, and from the wider UK, in neighbourhoods all across our beloved home city. We had a wicked time, we learned a lot, we made loads of mistakes, and we made magic happen.

In 2013, we partnered with Kings Heath Business Improvement District to bring a carnival inspired focus to South Brum’s favourite High Street. Campinas raised Flautins Matua led the parade as part of their European tour.

We also curated the Welcome to Kings Heath mural – painted by Brazilian artist Ficore, alongside Kings Heath’s very own Hoakser. Three years on, the mural is still there, untouched and brightening a little corner of B14. Its gets seen by around 4500 road users per hour, and as you can see from this article, it’s become synonymous with the neighbourhood.

Ficore also collaborated with Mr. Christian – in house designer at indie boutique The People Shop – on a one of a kind graffiti dress. Why the heck not?

People Shop Dress - Dan Burwood, Model Talie Hurdwell

Our 2013 edition was lush. It was also quite stressful, and due to ethical differences between ourselves and the makers of Espirito Mundo, briefly centring around our belief that artists should be paid for their work, so that they don’t die of exposure, in 2014 we rebranded to Brum Spirit.

This also meant that we could extend the cultural exchange up to involve visiting artists from other nations, as well as those from Brazil. The name Brum Spirit encapsulates the sense of welcome, tolerance, self determination and eclecticism that Birmingham embodies as a city, and we wanted to open our homes and our hearts to artists from all over the damn globe.

For Brum Spirit 2014, we did just that. As well as welcoming back visiting Brazilian musician Jota III for the 4th time, we called on Kadialy Kouyate from Senegal, and CASCA from Cameroon, through our partnership with Celebrating Sanctuary and Muzikstan.

In line with our commitment to brighten up neglected corners of Birmingham with crowd curated public artworks, we hosted French graffiti artist RCF1, while he completed a collaborative mural in homage to Brum’s underground music scene, alongside Hoakser.

So, nicely settled into our new name, and continuing to build on our small but carefully formed exchange model, Brum Spirit was going swimmingly. Then, one day, our Director Tessa Burwood decided it was about time she set herself a new challenge – one which would take up a heck of a lot of time. So she buckled down to studying for a Graduate Diploma in Law, at BPP Birmingham, and she blooming well passed.

What with that, and creating our sister project Levitate, there was no time to run a full edition of Brum Spirit in 2015, so we took a year off from public events. We did make this wicked film though, all about Birmingham’s music scene, with a little help from Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whisky.

So, that explains the hiatus. But fear not – Brum Spirit is back in 2016! Yey! We have loads of cool things to share with you this year, and we cannot wait to get started 🙂 Thank you big time for bearing with us 🙂 Tamojunto familia!


Birmingham to São Paulo

CaosArte this is for you! In homage to our 2016 partner city São Paulo and the Brum Spirit family out there, who are in our hearts every damn day, our main graffer Hoakser produced this classic wildstyle, to be exhibited at Memorial da América Latina next month. The piece is part of a selection of digital works by Birmingham based arts activists, to be incorporated into the programme of CaosArte’s 3rd annual crowd curated extravaganza.

Hoakser Sao Paulo Wildstyle for CaosArte - photo by Dan Burwood, Some Cities

The theme for this year is A Cidade Dança/ The City Dances – an invitation for contributors to explore how urban inhabitants transform their city, and how the city transforms them in turn. Also ready for inclusion are works by Jungo Arts, Some Cities and Break Mission.

This whole Brum Spirit selection is going to be introduced by Karina Poli – researcher from Universidade de São Paulo, and manager of our visiting Brazilian artists for this year’s edition of our exchange. More on that very soon!

Hoakser had a bit of a mission getting this piece done. He chose a specific position in one of Digbeth’s legal graff spots, so that the final piece could incorporate a little of Brum’s central skyline, and the word ‘BIRMINGHAM’, from the sign on Digbeth Coach Station.

Arriving bright and early so he’d have a full day painting, he’d just finished emulsioning the background when a parking attendant told him that graff was no longer allowed in the spot, since Seven Capital and Colmore Tang put up their new hoardings, to mark the territory out for luxury apartment development Connaught Square.

It seemed a little ridiculous, considering the lack of signage, and the fact that the entire car park is covered in graff. In any case, Hoakser was told if he waited until after the attendant clocked off, he could come back and get it done in the twilight. So that’s what he did. In two hours, with no sketches (obviously), and no stopping, he completed this classic wildstyle, highlighting the cryptic lettering oneupmanship that forms the very heart of graffiti.

The work has been captured in this sweet little video, and our photography partners at Some Cities have taken a couple of great shots to really showcase the piece in context. How’s about that for transforming a city in transformation?