People, Place and Sport is a celebration of local communities and sport in the West Midlands. Jaskirt Boora shines a light on sporting hubs tucked away in our landscape, away from the large stadia, where grassroot sports takes place weekly. This work asks what sport, and the Commonwealth means to the people in the Midlands. All exhibitions are free to view and attend. 

See below Jaskirt’s conversation with members of the Birmingham 2022 Festival team:  

Q: Please introduce yourself, your project, and role.  

A: My name is Jaskirt Boora, and I am a Visual Artist with my main practice in photography.  

I work a lot with local communities to try and amplify their voices, specifically marginalised voices within different communities. The idea of People, Place, and Sport came to me as soon as I found out the games were coming to Birmingham. I knew I had to get involved and the idea grew from there.  

Q: What have you enjoyed about the project so far?  

A: Taking the photographs was my favourite part as it allowed me to work with local people, but then because I shot so much work last year choosing which images to use for the festival became really difficult.  

As I predominately shoot portrait, the aim was to develop my practice and make a body of work that is all encompassing. It was a lovely balance of having lots of great conversations when I was taking everyone’s portrait but then having the contrast of quiet solitude when shooting the landscapes because I was on my own.  

I would like to shine a light on the support I received from Multistory, right from the get-go they have been the one that has bridged the gap for me to get this commission. This is by far the most in-depth project I have done, and it is down to the funding and support from both Multistory and the Festival itself. I am really grateful and thankful for that. I think it is important that individuals are aware of these art organisations and how they can be help projects and artists.  

Q: How would you describe your project to those new to your work?  

A: I would describe People, Place & Sport as a celebration of local people and places, while also it’s about amplifying their voices and their stories.  

It’s not just about sport in and of itself – a lot of conversations through the interviews that people can hear through the QR code reveal a lot of different things that people access sports for. So, it’s a sense of community, it’s about having a sense of place as well and an outlet for aggression and stress. It’s about being able to socialise with people, the physical health benefits and well as benefits for your mental health. There are all these different things the project covers and my work is trying to represent the people from Birmingham and Sandwell as best as possible. I showcase their voice as well as showcase the region, not just the shiny stuff but the real stuff. 

Q: Do you have any plans for after the Festival?  

A: Right now, I am working on creating a book of People, Place, and Sport to act as legacy piece once the exhibition is dismantled. I aim to have it ready for when the Sandwell Valley Park exhibition goes live. For the last couple of years, I have worked with Women’s Refuge at Birmingham’s Crisis Centre, so once the festival ends my biggest plan is I want to go back and do more workshops with them. I am not sure in what capacity or the content of these workshops, but that’s what I would like to do. 

Q: What other B2022 Festival are you looking forward to seeing?  

A: The one that is on my radar is Hew Locke’s, Foreign Exchange, I love his work! I saw his previous exhibition in Ikon a few years ago and I love the quality of his work, the structures, the meaning, everything!  

Q: What excites you most about the Birmingham 2022 Festival? 

I think what we’ve got this year is a really great opportunity to spotlight the amazing cultural talent in our region and specifically Birmingham – that’s what really excites me.  

When we get the games and we see these amazing projects go live, I think having that buzz in the city again after the last couple of years, I think that’s what excites me more. The festival’s given a really great opportunity for a lot of freelancers and cultural offerings for commissioned work and showcase the best of us, and also to challenge what the Commonwealth stands for – I'm quite looking forward to seeing the range of work that’s created. 

You can find her exhibition People, Place and Sport located at St Paul's Square in the Jewellery Quarter, Digbeth Coach Station and Moseley Road Baths, or in Smethwick at Wednesbury Leisure Centre, West Bromwich Leisure Centre and Hadley Stadium.