In Conversation with Jay Blades and Dawinder Bansal - 'Making It'
I'm absolutely thrilled to announce I will be back at Wolverhampton Literature Festival this year with a special event I've curated with Furniture Restorer and Presenter Jay Blades MBE on February 5th, 1pm at Light House Media Centre
Jay is the host of the much loved TV series The Repair Shop. Last year, he released his debut book called 'Making It: How Love, Kindness and Community Helped Me Repair My Life'.
I began listening to Jay's audio book and found so many aspects of the book that resonated with me, particularly his stories and experiences growing up as a child to immigrant parents and struggling in the mainstream education system. He talks about the 1980s, racism and his influences around style and fashion. And his extensive work with communities and making a difference in the lives of young and vulnerable people - supporting them through mental illnesses and homelessness. I have to say, some aspects of his life story deeply resonated with me as I often work with marginalised communities and it's been a central part of my artistic work for many years.
Jay's audio book kept me company as redecorated my home last year. I found his life story and journey incredibly insightful, inspiring and sometimes shocking. His story highlights that the journey to success isn't linear and being humble is important - even after the fame arrives. The honesty of his storytelling is so refreshing and Jay's life story shows how people can rebuild themselves and start again - coming back even stronger after a breakdown. I love this book.
I'm also looking forward to watching his BBC documentary 'Learning to read at 51'. Along the way, he’ll revisit key moments in his life shaped by not being able to read: from the ‘Learner’ class at school, to receiving an important letter from hospital and having to find a stranger on the street to read it to him. And he will discover the human stories behind the nation’s shocking illiteracy statistics.
I've not always been open about this but I struggled a fair bit in the education system and for some reason I would ALWAYS get my capitals and small letters constantly mixed up. I left Wood End Primary and went to Wednesfield High School and failed all of my GCSE's aside from Media Studies, a subject I absolutely loved. I hated school to be honest and it was only when I attended Wulfrun College (now Wolverhampton College) that my grades dramatically improved.
In other good news too, I have been commissioned to bring Jambo Cinema back to the city as part of the British Art Show 9 Offsite programme. Here's what you can expect to see! Here's The BBC Breakfast feature when it was shown in Nottingham at New Art Exchange. I had hoped to host the event with Jay, within my installation but current social distancing regulations made this difficult to do.
I'm currently working with a fab team to build my 1980s Kenyan living room and VHS Bollywood rental shop into a shop inside the Mander Centre. I'll be opening the installation to the public on January 22nd.
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Tickets are :£12 (excluding booking fee). Click this link to buy tickets:-