New Delhi, India: A unique artistic collaboration powered by people of the Commonwealth has today been unveiled for the first time in Delhi, India. Dubbed the ‘Relaytionship’, the artwork has been launched by the Business and Tourism Programme and is a fluid and dynamic piece of digital art, evolving and growing alongside the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay as it traverses 72 nations and territories of the Commonwealth in 294 days.
Having launched in October in the West Midlands – home to Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games – this is the first reveal of the Relaytionship which has gathered pace and been fuelled by contributions from people across the globe.
To coincide with the Queen’s Baton arriving in the country, the first evolution of the poem and artwork has been revealed at a virtual showcase event, hosted by the British High Commissioner to India, Alex Ellis.
The Relaytionship artwork was revealed by Apache Indian, who grew up in Handsworth in Birmingham, during the virtual showcase event.
Originally designed by West Midlands-based audio-visual artist Tommy Xiao Ji in collaboration with spoken word artist Amerah Saleh, the Relaytionship was created by the Business and Tourism Programme to embody the artistic and diverse heritage of the West Midlands whilst reflecting the power of art to connect cultures, countries, and continents.
The artistic collaboration will absorb words and images from people in India, a country with a rich poetic legacy and influence, and continue its journey alongside the Queen’s Baton. Having connected voices from every corner of the Commonwealth, a final version of the hybrid piece of artwork will be revealed when the Queen’s Baton returns to the West Midlands.
Amerah Saleh said: “In October we asked communities around the Commonwealth ‘What does Home mean to you? What does Incredible mean to you?’ and it is inspiring to see the first wave of responses unveiled. As we hoped to demonstrate when we launched the Relaytionship, we are all more connected that you would think. I look forward to developing the artwork as the poem develops and encourage everyone to express what Home and Incredible means to them.”
Becky Frall, Head of Tourism at the West Midlands Growth Company, which aims to attract more visitors to the region said: “The West Midlands’ destinations have a rich arts and culture offer, and it is exhilarating to see how well the concept of the Relaytionship is resonating in India. What the artwork has also revealed is the affinity between the West Midlands region and India, how connected we are despite the thousands of miles that separate us, and how our bond continues to evolve. We look forward to welcoming Indian visitors once again, as travel recommences and restrictions ease. We hope that this sentiment will continue to engage and build audiences as the artwork grows.”
The Relaytionship by Amerah Saleh
We are tiny galaxies that pass each other quietly
We know when to come together
When to stand behind one another
We are multiple worlds colliding
Ready to embrace
Put the sun in your suitcase
Put the maps of the places you’re going to away
We are your tour guides
We’ll show you the architecture of our youth
The back to backs of our histories
The gardens of our stories
This galaxy is a combination of dreams and nightmares
At least we know that
We get up every morning
Continue to build on the shoulders of our heroes
Spin our world around
Tell us we are not the greatest
But we are in the middle of greatness. Tell us what incredible is and we will provide?
We are the place you breathe at a human pace
The beauty of the capital
But the peace of a second
We can be children again
Tongues out at funfairs
Lollipops for being brave
To travel to another place
And find something new
What does home mean to you?To be continued…
The Relaytionship continues alongside the Queen’s Baton Relay. For more information or to contribute your words visit www.makeitwm.com/relaytionship.
Notes to editors
The West Midlands attracted 2.3m international visits in 2019 (based on IPS 2017-2019 three-year rolling average).
The Business and Tourism Programme (BATP)
The Business and Tourism Programme (BATP) aims to leverage the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games to embed positive perceptions of the West Midlands into the international imagination, driving long-term economic benefits across the region, fostering civic pride. Focusing on tourism, trade and investment, the three-year programme will catalyse the West Midlands’ growth strategy, cementing the region, and wider UK, as a globally sought-after location to visit, invest and live in. Its work will target on nations and territories across the Commonwealth.
During the Business and Tourism Programme virtual showcase on 12 January, Apache Indian unveiled the first iteration of the Relaytionship artwork urging those in India to contribute their own words to the artwork. A clip of this unveiling is available on request.
About the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay
Birmingham 2022 is hosting the 16th official Queen’s Baton Relay – a journey which brings together and celebrates communities in every corner of the Commonwealth ahead of Birmingham 2022.
The Baton has already begun its epic journey across the Commonwealth, where it will have visited Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania, the Caribbean, and the Americas, it will return to England in July 2022 for the final countdown to the Commonwealth Games.
The Queen’s Baton will travel around England for 25 days, before the Relay officially ends at the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games on 28 July 2022. The Queen’s Baton Relay is a Games tradition that celebrates, connects and excites communities from across Commonwealth during the build up to the Games.
This collective journey will ignite hope, solidarity and collaboration for the next generation, with these stories leaving us all inspired to take on the challenges that matter most to us.
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