Birmingham is home to hundreds of Indian restaurants. They have been crucial in shaping the city and nation we live in. However, many are unaware that it was the Bangladeshi community that pioneered this industry and Britain’s ‘curry culture’. The nation’s way of life has been transformed by the hard work and dedication of British-Bangladeshis.
Soul City Arts is delighted to present Knights of the Raj, a ground-breaking Heritage Lottery Funded (HLF) project documenting the heritage and history of Bangladeshi-owned ‘Indian’ restaurants in Birmingham and the inspirational stories of the people behind them. The pioneers of this industry were first generation immigrants whose stories have previously not been collected, preserved and shared.
According to Mohammed Ali MBE, Artistic Director of Soul City Arts:
The untold stories of the Indian restaurant trade give us a fascinating insight into the curry trade. The exhibition brings out unexpected and previously undocumented stories of struggle and conflict, determination and perseverance, and hope and aspiration.
Through the Knights of the Raj project, I’ve gained a new appreciation for who my father was and the sacrifices his generation made. We’ve captured stories that were in danger of being lost forever. If you don’t know the stories of who your parents and grandparents were, how do you get to really know who you are.
Soul City Arts have unearthed fascinating stories captured and recorded through interviews. There have also been donations of archive material from workers, families and communities. The project has also involved stories of the customers, all of this has helped to shape our understanding of the city and its people, challenging perceptions and showing our interconnectedness.
Knights of the Raj will make a significant and vital contribution to the city’s archives, present a three-month long exhibition at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.
Over the course of the exhibition, Soul City Arts will also be hosting a series of intimate debates and in conversation events which will provide unique opportunities for visitors to meet the people behind the stories. For more information register for updates at www.soulcityarts.com
This unique project is led by Soul City Arts, and supported by the HLF, Birmingham Museum Trust, Library of Birmingham and Future Seed CIC.
For further information, please contact Soul City Arts on:
Richard@soulcityarts.com and 07793 208 938