Taking inspiration from Babylon’s hanging gardens, the projects for "Healing Gardens of Bab" are both epic and reflective, creating a brand new healing gardens right in the heart of the city.
Programmed in response to the arrival of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and anchored by three moments of queer joy and solidarity, Healing Gardens of Bab is being produced by arts company Fierce and includes a range of events.
These include large scale spectacles and outdoor artworks, pop-up performances, drag, pageantry and creative club nights with artists from countries including South Africa, Ghana, Canada, India and Australia, running between June 27 and July 17.
Fierce has worked alongside a group of five LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual) future leaders from the region in Hassan Hussain, Simone Mendez, Eric Scutaro, Beth Steventon-Crinks and Patrick Vernon.
Aaron Wright, artistic director of Fierce said: “One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon are the only wonder whose existence is disputed.
"It has been suggested by some that the gardens are a figment of the ancient imagination. Just like Babylon’s Gardens, the existence of queer people has often been disputed.
"Queer people have always existed: from Hijras and Kothi communities in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh; the Fa'afafine of Samoa; Sangomas of South Africa; as well as many identities that aren’t translatable into English.
"Fierce’s Healing Gardens of Bab is an artistic response to English colonial history, exploring penal codes that criminalised homosexuality whilst looking towards healing queerer futures."
The programme of events includes "In Muva, We Trust", a projected artwork on Chamberlain Square, arts collective Duckie performing at Birmingham's Botanical Gardens and the 2-Spirit Ball, a celebration of Indigiqueer culture with drag, music and performance art.
The steering group has commissioned local artist Mazahir Hussain, AKA Girth of Venus, to create the Healing Gardens of Bab lead artwork.
The Healing Gardens of Bab has been produced with support by Arts Council England, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The National Lottery Community Fund, Canada Council for the Arts, High Commission of Canada in the United Kingdom and Creative New Zealand.
To find out more about the festival and the events taking place, go to wearefierce.org/healing-gardens-of-bab