Just a beautiful rough sketch is how Carl Lavia aka Sketch’s eye catching new work in Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery might appear on first view. On further examination though, it is more obviously a declaration of love to a city and its ever expanding potential. The second city has long had its fast-evolving cultural cachet overlooked by the media, replacing the image of a vibrant and exciting cultural hub with an anachronistic (if stylistically beautiful) vision of the world of Peaky Blinders. Carl Lavia’s work tells a different narrative. A panoramic aerial sketch of the city using technical pens on archival paper and situated in the part of the museum entitled Birmingham: its people, its history, ‘City of Birmingham Sketch’ shows the city to be just what it is – alive, thriving and ever-changing. Lavia made the conscious decision to include uncompleted regeneration projects in his work, which, combined with his quick, rough pen strokes creates the sense of a city in transformation. It is clear that Lavia sees the city as more than a rigid urban space as he emphasises many of the curves of the architecture and street layout in such a way that you can easily imagine yourself moving through a city which itself is in motion. City of Birmingham Sketch is Lavia’s first piece in his project drawing aerial views of all 69 British cities, from memory. Up next, Manchester.

Fri 14 Oct – Apr 2017, Birmingham Art Gallery & Museum, Chamberlain Square, Birmingham, B3 3DH, 0121 348 8038. Free www.birminghammuseums.org.uk

Fri 14 Oct
Naomi Simpson
Published on:
Thu 9 Feb 2017