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PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022

We were promised lots more activity during the B2022 Festival linked with the Birmingham Commonwealth games. When a readymade garden in the middle of Birmingham was announced, it really caught the public imagination.  PoliNations was not like any other garden, attracting huge anticipation on what to expect. This display was stunning and so different to what had gone before during the festival.  PoliNations is difficult to sum up in a few words.  I will try to describe the scene but I am aware that the gardens brought out different personal experiences from those who went.

PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022
The fragrance always remains on the hand that gives the rose
Hada Bejar

To put it simply, Victoria square was transformed into a garden.  The paving stones, concrete, and other parts of the square were covered with grass and flowers. There were 5 manmade trees with large umbrella like canopies.  These trees were 40 ft high and towered above the landscape with the trunks covered with colourful patterns.  At ground level, there were walkways through a garden of plants.  Access was by several entrances which lead to different zones.   Iconic plants such as apple, fern, roses and tulips were featured.  Other parts of the garden were called Fringe, Sunny or Temperature zones and had flowers to match the theme.  The map shown provides a key to the different areas.  

PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022
Map of PoliNations

The sensory garden had varieties of flowers based on those you would normally find in the City.  I visited twice. Once while it was raining and the second time when the sun shone. I enjoyed all the textures, interaction with people and the use of mirrors on the public seating.  

There was a full programme of events including music, dance and theatre which were held on either the large stage or the many smaller places through out the installation.  I was not able to attend these shows but my visits during the day gave me a flavour of the place. PoliNations was magical but quirky, natural and surreal.  The diversity of the place was displayed in the range of flowers, the colours on offer and the people passing through. The place eventually caught up with you and made you sit down and take in the uniqueness of everything.  

PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022
Taking Time Out

PoliNations was a photographers delight allowing you to take a range of pictures. There were many stunning pictures taken using drones but I am a simple foot on the ground photographer and this is my interpretation of the place. A simple search on Instagram shows the variety of pictures that were taken. Please enjoy my pictures of my visit to PoliNations which serve as a memory of an extra-ordinary visit.

More pictures to view of PoliNations in the rain and the sun.

PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022
Rain does not stop people from enjoying the gardens.
PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022
Take it slow
PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022
Relax
PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022
Take it easy
PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022
Have fun
PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022
Great interactions either live or virtual
PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022
PolNations
PoliNations,Birmingham, September 2022
The Floosie in the Jacuzzi and PoliNations

24 Hours Project, Knowle and Birmingham, 10th September 2022

Taking part in the @24hoursproject did challenge me in my photography.  I learnt about it from a fellow photographer who also happened to be the UK ambassador for the project.  When Anu told me about the project then I just had to get involved.  After registering and donating to the designated charity, I got ready for the day.  The charity chosen by the 24 hour team was supporting the work of Yonton Te which means “heart of the tree”. The donations will go to a local community in Chapas Mexico and the website provides more information on this worthwhile cause.

24 Hours Project, Knowle and Birmingham, 10th September 2022
Hours 1 to 4

The theme of the 24 hours was to document the general human condition with emotions of love, humour, sadness, joy, fulfilment, pain, loneliness).  As you will see from my photographs, I strayed away from the brief.  This was not my intention but I was so focussed on getting a picture done once an hour that I forgot about the theme. Reviewing the photo feed of the project, many people went into their local cities, whilst I decided to base my 24 hours around my life at home.  You will see that my first 8 hours evolved around sleeping and my breakfast. Also there were not many people stirring in Knowle village early on a Saturday morning.

24 Hours Project, Knowle and Birmingham, 10th September 2022
Hours 5 to 8

At 10:00 am I went into Birmingham.  By chance, my train driver was Yo Naysan, a fellow photographer. As the train pulled in he stuck his head out of the driver’s window and said hello. On arriving into Birmingham, I met up with Anu and her partner Kate and wandered around the city.  I photographed the PoliNations display in Victoria Square, the Library of Birmingham, Gas Street Basin and the University of Birmingham, Exchange.  There were people queuing for the book of remembrance for the Queen.

24 Hours Project, Knowle and Birmingham, 10th September 2022
Hours 9 to 12
24 Hours Project, Knowle and Birmingham, 10th September 2022
Hours 13 to 16

Many of these are linked to tackling climate change and foolishly I did not take pictures of people. However in my outtakes I did and you will see many of these were fun pictures.  Driving back home I pondered my contribution to the 24 hour project and took several pictures in the village at night.  To recap, the main aim for this project was to experience 24 hours of pictures and see if I was able to complete the task. I succeeded in this task next year will be able to tackle the project in a different way as I know what to expect.

24 Hours Project, Knowle and Birmingham, 10th September 2022
Hours 17 to 20
24 Hours Project, Knowle and Birmingham, 10th September 2022
Hours 21 to 24

And just for fun here are my outtakes of the day.