Iñárritu’s Anticipated ‘Bardo, False Chronicle Of A Handful Of Truths’ Previews At MAC Ahead Of Netflix Release

Words by Jimmy Dougan 

A few weeks ago, I finished reading Roberto Bolaño’s extraordinary 1998 novel The Savage Detectives. I’m still in mourning – if only I could’ve found a way to prolong it, to stretch out the final, haunting evocation of the Sonaran Desert. 

The book is an almost encyclopaedic depiction of a semi-fictional literary movement, Visceral Realism, but it’s also a head-spinningly vivid evocation of pre-millennium Mexico, a place too busy being born to notice the trouble brewing amongst its youngsters and literary juveniles. 

The case Bolaño makes is pretty simple: literature is vital, with books a cornerstone component of any civilised society. A society that doesn’t read is one that doesn’t care. 

Enter, then, Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s new film for Netflix: Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths – the newest film from the maverick director of 2014’s Birdman and 2015’s The Revenant

The ghost of Bonaño lurks in every frame of this dazzling film, depicting post-colonial Mexico at a crossroads between past and present, young and old, struggling to define itself in a globalised age. I could feel my copy of The Savage Detectives boring holes into the back of my skull as I greedily booked a ticket to a pre-release screening at the Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) ahead of a Netflix release on the 16 December.

Bardo follows Los Angeles-based Silverio (Daniel Giménez Cacho), a Mexican journalist and documentarian, returning to his native country after hearing he is to receive a prestigious award for journalistic ethics. He begins experiencing strange hallucinations and surreal adventures, the lines between memory and fantasy becoming increasingly blurred. 

Iñárritu’s film depicts the endpoint of all Bolaño’s concerns: art has become a commodity. Bardo shows a shallow and joyless society, one built on atrocity and trauma but obsessed with clicks and content. Risk-averse and dull, this world contains about as much excitement as swimming in a children’s paddling pool. 

Sound familiar?

The cinematic language Iñárritu’s film employs is something else entirely – forget leaving reality at the door, he’s left it at home. 

This film is a beautiful, melancholic story about what it means to be an artist in the increasingly strange moment we’ve found ourselves in, and what truly constitutes a ‘home’. 

Is it four walls and a roof? A family? An O-1 visa? 

Iñárritu is far too canny to give us an answer, but one of the great joys (and trust me, there are many) of Bardo is just how much this notorious director eschews conventional ideas of narrative, and storytelling, to present a personal yet universal portrait of the artist as a middle-aged man. 

At the middle of it all is Cacho’s performance as Silverio. Derided for leaving his home country to find greater success in the States, Silverio is hated for his new docudrama, A False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths, which is about the conquistador Hernán Cortés. It’s no coincidence that with his tanned skin, greying hair, and sunglasses, Silverio bears a striking resemblance to Iñárritu himself, a director who made one film in Mexico in 2000 then went to America to earn greater plaudits (and fortunes). 

Cacho’s performance is one of brutal honesty and sadness, he resembles a clown not quite in on the joke. Like the viewer, he ambles through the film and greedily jumps from memory to fantasy. It certainly helps that Cacho is surrounded by one of the strongest casts assembled this year. Particular highlights include Griselda Siciliani as Silverio’s wife, Lucia, and Ximena Lamadrid and Íker Sanchez Solano as their children. 

Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths is one of the year’s best films. It’s a work of capital ‘S’ Serious cinema to which agnostics need not apply. It asks for a lot from audiences, a 160-minute attention span included. 

It’s a stunning new entry into the Mexican cinematic canon, and one which takes up the gauntlet Roberto Bolaño threw down to the Mexican literary establishment in 1998. Here is a new Mexican myth for the post-Trump age. Iñárritu’s point? Artists matter, and a society that doesn’t value artists can’t be called a society.

Exquisitely shot by Darius Khondji on 65mm film, this challenging film is self-indulgent, joyous, funny, sad, startling, and anything but boring. And, if you commit to this film in the way it deserves, if you carve out the time to step into the strange and beautiful dream Iñárritu has crafted, you will be rewarded. 

One of my favourite lines from The Savage Detectives is as follows: ‘Nothing happened today. And if anything did, I’d rather not talk about it, because I didn’t understand it.’

Bardo, Fale Chronicle of a Handful of Truths will be released on Netflix on 16 December.

Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths – Official trailer

To read more about Roberto Bolaño visit: www.panmacmillan.com/authors/roberto-bolano 

To read more about MAC’s cinema and screenings lineup visit: www.macbirmingham.co.uk/whats-on/cinema

Emberly Presents: Scumbags, Maggots and Cheap Lousy… at The Loft 04/12/22

Writer Mark Roberts / Photographer Connor Pope

December is finally upon us. I’ve been trying to ignore the Christmas market because I’m a bit of a scrooge, but if there’s anyone who can get me into the Christmas spirit, it’ll be four drag artists on a Sunday night at The Loft.

The host of Scumbags, Maggots and… Emberly walks on to the floor in an American sports top (I don’t know which one) and announces that she would like to perform her favourite hymn. That hymn? Well, it’s an absolute classic. Emberly begins to sing with emotion and heartbreak:

“My coconuts, you can put them in your mouth,
Right now, right now.”

A tear rolls down my cheek, this beautiful song about yearning boobies who are simultaneously called Mary Kate and Ashley lifts my soul.

As the hymn comes to an end the audience shout out “ding dong”. Ding dong indeed I think.

Krismas, who is apparently on the naughty list for flower related crimes, arrives. Krismas has one of those dancing puppets setups where they’re in front and behind her, controlled by parallel sticks. Except they’re not puppets, they’re poorly endowed blow-up sex dolls.

‘Jingle Bell Rocks’ starts. Yes, the Mean Girls version, and Krismas dances around with her partners until they fall when the sound inevitably gets ripped out. Living her Lindsey Lohan fantasy, the audience dutifully sing the last verse acapella, supporting Kirsmas as she strips down to her lingerie like the “hardcore girls” in Mean Girls do.

Crusty is next, they’re dressed up in Dickensian realness, a flat cap and drag chimney sweep garb. Crusty is apparently on the naughty list for sexualising muppets, specifically Gonzo, in an essay they wrote.

They run to the stage to the sound of Graham Norton introducing them and break into a wonderfully voiced rendition of ‘Food Glorious Food’ from Oliver. Only this isn’t about wanting food, but wanting fame and fortune on a West End stage.

It’s a side-splitting rendition jabbing at the West End’s exploitation of children.

Act two is a lip sync roulette. All four performers’ names are put into a hat and all four are supposed to have learned all of the lip syncs.

Emberly rigs the hat for their turn to get their chosen lip sync. Which is ‘Grandma Got Run Over by A Reindeer’ by Elmo & Patsy.

A rendition about someone losing their grandma by Santa in a terrible incidence of vehicular manslaughter. Tenderly, Emberly twerks to the dead granny. How Incredibly fitting, and they evoke roaring laughter from the audience.

Cake Boi is here in a black velvet dress looking fierce, lip syncing ‘All I Want for Christmas’ by Mariah Carey. Channelling the exact sort of divaness Mariah exudes.

With the inevitable over-exaggeration of the melisma Mariah is known for, Cake Boi is giving us heartbreak and sleigh bells in equal measure. The lip sync is excellent, their syllables snap out of the mouth with precision.

Suddenly Cake Boi is outside the venue, voguing and still lip syncing in time in the middle of the street. The audience are all standing and in hysterics, my eyes water again.

Running to the window at the front of the venue they whip their head forward, losing their wig, maybe purposefully, maybe not, but who cares. Abruptly they’re out of view and then suddenly their wig is blowing around on their face, then they’re running to the front door.

As unabated rip-roaring laughter continues, Cake Boi returns for a standing ovation.

Another break and we’re back. This act, Cake Boi, now dressed as Cilla Black, is lip syncing a mash-up of songs and a Cilla Black interview. Orange in one hand and an oxo cube in the other, in reference to Cilla talking about eating them together, Cake Boi follows suit with gusto, causing laughter to fill the room.

They sprinkle the oxo cube into their mouth and over the audience. But this performance is anything but salty.

Krismas is dressed in the exact ‘Jingle Bell Rocks’ dress from Mean Girls. I’m thinking I have déjà vu as ‘Jingle Bell Rocks’ starts again. Only this rendition’s lyrics are: “stroke a my, lick a my, suck a my cock’.

Dousing femininity around the room, Krismas dances with pizzazz – flowing between different songs and sound clips. Landing on ‘White Christmas’ she wields a bag of flour; I anticipate them throwing it like snow, but I’m wrong. They remove a baggy from it and begin to snort directly from it.

A white Christmas for all.

Crusty is here with an explanation on flagging. Talking about how gay people back in the olden days communicated to each other their sexuality and their kinks through colour coded handkerchiefs.

Crusty then breaks into a comedy song entitled ‘Piss On Me’ in ode of an unfortunate misunderstanding when they were a younger gay person in a club, and were presumed to be flagging with a yellow handkerchief.

In the end though the story takes a turn, ending on the moral that when push comes to shove you can just be horny enough to entertain water sports. “Piss on me… You’ll be my salty sea,” Crusty ends.

Sunday nights can feel sparse in Birmingham, but this proves that with a little imagination they can be a great evening to go out in town. Emberly’s quartet are fantastic performers with hilarious ideas.

So, to the loft and to Emberly, Crusty, Cake Boi, and Krismas, thank you for warming my scroogey cockles up in time for Christmas.

For more from Emberly go to: www.instagram.com/theemberly
For more from Crusty go to: www.instagram.com/crustydrag
For more from Cake Boi go to: www.cakeboiproductions.myportfolio.com
For more from Krismas go to: www.instagram.com/krismasdoll

For more events at The Loft go to: www.theloftbrum.co.uk

Horror in the Modernist Block Explores Dystopian Brutalist Landscapes At Ikon Gallery – Running Until 01/05/23

Writer Sadie Barnett / Photographer Connor Pope

The atmosphere is one of excitement as photographer Connor and I arrive at the Horror in the Modernist Block press tour. This marks a new season for the Ikon, their first opening since director Jonathan Watkins stepped down. The exhibition aims to explore modernist architecture, starting with Birmingham and the city’s renowned Brutalist style buildings and as our tour guide explains, “expanding outwards globally”.

Continuing to describe the exhibition, she tells us how it aims to explore the implicit dystopian nature of the landscapes around us; “it’s important that the show is a provocation,” she says.

Thus we all enter, eager to be provoked.

The problem with architecture exhibitions is that at first glance it’s hard to tell if something is a part of the exhibition or the building. This is the case with one of the first pieces we see, Exit Sign (2021) by Abbas Zahedi.

I see the classic green and white design of a standard exit sign. However, on closer inspection we see that the running figures on either side of the arrow – which points to the ceiling rather than giving directions – are turned upside-down.

Zahedi tells how this work is inspired by his experience in Grenfell Tower. The crowd is silent as he describes, with contempt, watching an interview where politician Jacob Rees-Mogg said: “If I was in Grenfell I would have left, common sense,” showing us how an exit route can, at times, be a privilege.

Next, I enter a second floor room. On one side is Seher Shah’s Notes from a City Unknown (2021). This work is made up of black and white prints paired alongside short pieces of text. Through the geometric nature of these prints, with a clear dichotomy between the shaded and non-shaded segments of the shapes, we see a blueprint of Brutalist New Delhi.

A personal favourite of mine is a print entitled City of Privacy, a black backdrop with sharp white imagery layered over it and corresponding text reading: ‘To listen to a city / The sound is distant / Eyes open in the dark to a mouth with no teeth.’

Here, we see a major theme of the exhibition shine through: architecture creating a looming spectre, the horror of the everyday.

On the other side of this room is Laëtitia Badaut Haussmann’s Vanquished Space, Controlled Energy (2022), featuring a 3D structure that takes up half the room. It is a combination of screen-printing and painting that depicts a larger than life image of a room.

This ‘para-architecture’ (something that resembles architecture) is a style used in modernist horror film sets, and as I watch it blend almost seamlessly into the walls of the room it brings to mind the concept of the ‘uncanny’.

As I’m guided through the rest of the tour certain pieces catch my attention more than others. I enjoy Amba Sayal Bennett’s Carus pieces, showcasing hand-drawn blueprints so precise they seem almost digital. I am intrigued by Firenze Lai’s paintings, which depict brightly-coloured figures within tight spaces – exploring Hong Kong architecture and the effect that packed-in cities can have on human psychology.

I am stopped in my tracks by Ismael Monticelli’s Spaghetti Junction (2022), a new commission by Ikon. The piece takes up a wall; a blue triangle covered by ornate wooden and paper mâche symbols, gold and red standing out against the backdrop. English is not Brazilian artist Monticelli’s first language and so he employs a translation pre-recorded with a friend to describe his work.

The voice plays over the speakers and as the room listens in hushed awe, looking up at the triangle looming over us the air takes on an almost Ozymandias-esque worshipful silence.

“Look on my works, Ye Mighty, and despair!’”

Listening to the recording, it’s clear this homage to ancient Egypt is not an accidental one. It describes how Brazil’s retro-futurist architecture draws inspiration from ancient Egypt. This is clear in the work’s iconography, depicting various hieroglyphic-style figures. Though the scenes in the picture represent ancient conflicts, we are told how these conflicts are ones echoed in the political turmoil of modern-day Brazil.

In the same room is a bench. I am keen to sit down and am about to do so when the tour guide speaks again. She tells us that ‘This is a bench but it is also an artwork!’

And I realise I’ve stepped into every art enthusiast’s cliched worst nightmare. It’s an architecture exhibition, of course the bench is art. I make a mental note to keep my wits about me, and look mistrustfully at every other unassuming object in the room. The bench, by Simon and Tom Bloor, aims to explore the functionality of modernist architecture.

Moving forwards, I’m intrigued by Monika Sosnowksa’s dramatically spiky sculpture, Tower (2019). It draws inspiration from avant-garde Soviet architect Shukhov, with the sculpture particularly referencing his method of deliberately fatiguing steel.

This reference is one that taps into the exhibition’s core of ‘horror’ – as this same technique, the tour guide tells us, ended up being the cause of the death of several construction workers executing Shukhov’s vision when it did not work as intended.

I’m tickled by Richard Hughes’ Lithobolia Happy Meal (2022), it consists of several suspended chunks of rubble alongside an out-of-place and smiling Space Hopper. However, on further inspection I am thrilled to realise that this is his brutalist simulation of a happy meal.

Hughes balances a genuinely playful and nostalgic piece with a skillful commentary of the capitalist nature of demolition and rebuilding through both its materials and subject matter.

Finally, I end the press tour with the film screenings, which will be the exhibition’s start point for the visiting public. I sit on one of Simon and Tom’s helpful modernist benches as the show begins. Each short film is projected one at a time onto the different walls around us, so that we follow the videos around the room.

I’m particularly blown away by Kihlberg & Henry’s Slow Violence (2018-2022). It explores ever-encroaching man-made environmental changes through a fast-paced mix of spoken-word, text on screen, videos and images. It’s fascinatingly meta, with words flashed across the screen before being flashed across the actors’ screens.

There are too many memorable segments to choose from; a slideshow of cigarette packet images provides a damning commentary of an industry invented with an aim to limit smoking –  “It’s the one I ask for in the shop, you get to choose!”.

A prisoner who reflects on how brutalist architecture impacted his life: “I learned to love the cell”.

A slideshow of images switches from natural landscapes to building sites as a deadpan cast chants, “Mountain. Mountain. Mountain.”

It is a devastatingly clever representation of the exhibition’s core theme, horror.

Horror in the Modernist Block – official trailer

Horror in the Modernist Block runs at Ikon Gallery until 01.05.23 – entry is free. For more on the exhibition visit: www.ikon-gallery.org/exhibition/horror-in-the-modernist-block

For more from Abbas Zahedi go to: www.abbzah.com
For more from Seher Shah go to: www.sehershah.net
For more from Laëtitia Badaut Haussmann go to: www.laetitiabadauthaussmann.com
For more from Amba Sayal Bennett go to: www.ambasb.com
For more from Ismael Monticelli go to: www.ismaelmonticelli.com
For more from Simon and Tom Bloor go to: www.simonandtombloor.com
For more from Monika Sosnowksa go to: www.hauserwirth.com/artists/2824-monika-sosnowska
For more from Richard Hughes go to: www.richardahughes.com 
For more from Kihlberg & Henry go to: www.daniellearnaud.com/artists/artists-kihlberg-and-henry.html 

For more from Ikon Gallery go to: https://www.ikon-gallery.org

Shado’s REIMAGINATION Packs Out Centrala On Digbeth First Friday 6/11/2022

Writer Jasmine Khan / Photographer Connor Pope

As I stroll into Centrala at 8pm on a Digbeth First Friday, I’m not sure what to expect. REIMAGINATION is packed, more packed than any gig I’ve been to at Centrala, and someone’s speaking spoken-word robotically over the mic.

This evening is organised by shado – “a lived-experience led community of artists, activists and journalists united in the fight for social justice”, who produce an online and in print magazine centred around activism with a global reach.

Led by curator Leyla Reynolds alongside Birmingham artists, tonight is exploring the theme of (you guessed it) reimagination. But I can’t get to any of the art yet because I’m trying to decide whether Bethany Slinn’s first poem is pretentious or ingenious – it’s often the way.

The sizable crowd makes it clear that something worth seeing is happening here. Slinn’s placing elongated blank pauses between relatively simple words, saying our minds are meant to “fill in the blanks”. It’s a tad monotonous.

Their second performance couldn’t be more different. ‘Joy Class’ lands with much more pace and linguistic variety. It’s hilarious, and I find myself clicking in the stereotypical way as they discuss the bureaucratic methods Ofsted uses to measure children’s joy.

Joy Class: it’s half a joke and half an ideal. “In Joy Class we pronounce each other’s names correctly”, chimes in an audience member when prompted, “In Joy Class we eat!”

Next up, it’s Affie Jam. “In Joy Class there’s no technical difficulties”, she banters, managing them in her stride.

It’s an art exhibition and I’ve still not looked at any art. The energy of the crowd feels like a clustered whirlwind, and I need to ground myself. There’s a slow, soulful guitar being plucked by, I assume, Affie Jam. But I’m at the back, and the audience is listening too acutely for me to shimmy up to the front.

So, I wander around and take in some of the art.

I stop at the Shado magazine stand. ‘Shado: See. Hear. Act. Do.’ reads the cover of the two aesthetic, matt, magazines on the table. They cover youth and global womanhood. I don’t have time to read through them in much detail but there’s a wide range of person/experience centred copy that warrants further investigation at a later date.

Next, I check in with BR journalist, photographer, and all-round artiste Emily Doyle. She’s displaying a ‘Moss Blanket’. A patchwork knitted sensory experience in sea, lime, and muddy green. ‘Please touch it, says the sign. How nice, you never usually get to touch the art.

As the full, neo-soul vocals of Affie Jam ring out, like the backing track to my Hollywood meet cute, I notice works by Adam Wynn – a multi-disciplinary artist born in Birmingham. ‘No-one has to say goodbye’ is a series of provocative and jarring vintage collages, commentating on the dual impact of capitalism and climate change.

Wynn contrasts gut-wrenching natural disasters against human complacency, and the final result is nagging guilt combined with rage at a wasteful, lethal system.

“I think I’ve forgotten the second verse of the song.”

Affie laughs off her faux pas charmingly; her silky voice is defining a vulnerable, open atmosphere, so she’s easily forgiven.

Looking for more art, I turn my head to the right and I’m struck by photographs of a Desi, pregnant woman in traditional red and gold sari. Her belly is bare and proudly protruding as the main focus of the piece, not something you see everyday.

I can’t get around to have a closer look because there’s people blocking my way in every direction. Affie’s voice sores over hazy runs, and I think about how ridiculous it is when people say there’s nothing happening here.

Vidya Patel, another Birmingham based artist, is a choreographer and performer whose work takes its influence from autobiographical narratives surrounding identity and empowerment. The work I’m so struck by is of her sister Janieesha Patel a few weeks before she gave birth. Which explains why it feels so intimate and knowing.

The six photographs/collages display Hindu rituals combined with magical realism and watermelons, with one piece featuring paisley patterns and a woman with her naked breast out, most likely preparing to nurse.

Patel’s art maintains a strong, mystical feminine influence throughout, and the bright colours draw the eye at multiple points across the collection.

Tolmeia Gregory (Tolly), animator, artist and climate artist, says we’re free to play with her dolls house, which is situated in the middle of the room. (More interactive art, what a treat.) There’s an art room and ‘hippy font’ slogans saying ‘slow down down down’ on the interior walls. The exterior is painted in pastels that remind me of 60’s VW camper vans.

“This is so positive, it’s making me so happy”, says off duty BR photographer Jess Whitty, who is also admiring the pastel colours, funky furniture, and map explaining the various institutions of Tolly’s reimagined world.

With Affie Jam’s set over, receiving strong applause, I can head to the pack of the room and see Jane Thakoordin’s ‘Blue Faces Ladies’. It’s a strange and intriguing video, but I can’t quite hear it above the rabble of the crowd. It’s about mental health, so I’ll have to investigate it at a later date and check out the accompanying zine that’s floating around.

Cherie Kwok, yet another Birmingham based artist, is a vibrant, daring illustrator and located to the right of Thakoordin. The piece in front of me focuses on ChinaTown in London, highlighting the breadth of experience a cultural space of such magnitude can contain, featuring almost neon brush strokes, building textured worlds and characters.

Before I have to depart, I make a point of checking out the oddest display, which up until this has been swarming with people.

‘Reimagining Death (in the greenhouse)’ is a multimedia installation by ITZATNA, which “seeks to recognise the intrinsic relationship between life, death, soil and humanity”. By the entrance of the audio visual installation is a poem ‘manifesto of death’ and what greets me at the door is quite harrowing,

The outline of a human body with ears of corn at the head and hands has been fashioned on the ground like a paranormal crime scene. To the left is a jar of sweets adding to the halloween vibes, to the right a radio, and projected on the back wall is a film switching between gardening and roaring fires.

The smell of soil fills my nostrils, it’s creepy and I wonder what exactly it’s commenting on. I can’t read the poem, apart from the title, because there’s people in the way, but it feels like a warning. We all know the reality of the impacts of climate change. We all know what’s coming if our unsustainable system persists.

REIMAGINATION has given me a lot to think about as I make my way back into the cold November night. I’ll definitely be back in the next two weeks to take in some more activist art and process it all.

For more from Shado go to: www.shado-mag.com/about/who-we-are

For more from Leyla Reynolds go to: www.leylareynolds.co.uk
For more from Beth Slin go to: www.instagram.com/beffslinnprojects 
For more from Affie Jam go to: www.soundcloud.com/affiejam 
For more from Emily Doyle go to: www.oldbort.wordpress.com 
For more from Adam Wynn go to: www.adamwynn.uk 
For more from Vidya Patel go to: www.danceartists.co.uk/about 
For more from Tolmeia Gregory go to: www.tolmeiagregory.com 
For more from Jane Thakoordin go to: www.janethakoordin.com 
For more from Cherie Kwok go to: www.cheriekwok.co.uk 
For more from ITZATNA go to: www.itzatna.org 

For more from Centrala go to: www.centrala-space.org.uk

For more from Digbeth First Friday go to: www.digbethfirstfriday.com

Your Aunty’s Art Sale At Dig Brew On 5 October 2022

Writer Jasmine Khan / Photographer Maddie Cottam-Allan

Whenever you’re at Dig Brew you have to eat the pizza, and Your Aunty’s Art Sale is no exception. I’m waiting on my Shrunken Head when Connor from Bad Girlfriend shows up. He sits down on the wooden bench next to me and buys me a beer – a rare occasion worth mentioning.

“Jaz? You know you’re the most wonderful, sexy person ever…” says Connor.

“I don’t have any baccie Connor,” I interrupt, wise to his gentlemanly charms.

Once I’ve finished my pizza and a pint of tasty Optimo, I reacquaint myself with the intimate art cove, where just over half a dozen artists are sharing their works as part of Daisy Richardson’s Your Aunty’s Art Sale. Which typically happens on the first Wednesday of every month.

The first artist I pop over to see is Poppy Wilkes, who uses silver art clay to set semi-precious stones in metal, and then fires them on a Bunsen burner to produce necklaces and other jewellery.

Poppy tells me, “I made most of them this morning,” gesturing to the shiny magpie treats below.

Just in front of Poppy is Haseebah Ali, 25, showcasing a collection of geometric Islamic prints, as well as mock stamps from the Syrian Arab Republic and other pieces inspired by the plight of Syrian refugees.

A professional artist since 2016, Haseebah says her works often addresses “… cultural issues, and 50% of the money gained from pieces on Syria will be donated to Syrian refugees.”

There’s a stark contrast between the consistency of her shape work against the drypoint etching pieces on Syria. The former evokes a sense of calm, and the latter fear and chaos, yet there’s understandable artistic and cultural reasons for pairing them together.

Faeby is nowhere to be found, but their art is pretty in your face, so I’m happy I get to explore the details without blushing in front of the artist.

In Faeby’s work naked or leather glad silhouettes stand against bold colourful backgrounds, with saucy, mid-century, Art Deco aesthetics.

And these sexy prints are situated perfectly next to Molly Rose Cleaver, whose abstract plant pots are paired with abstract tits. A sapphic delight.

Next I check out JD Allen.  He’s brave enough to have set up next to our Resident Comic Whore, Maddie Cottam-Allen, and is selling prints of digital drawings of iconic Brum spots: Mr Egg, Medicine Bakery, BoneHead.

They’re sleek and feel like a gamification of the city. Although there’s no Brum piss stairs which is understandable, though still slightly disappointing.

Esme Stillaway doesn’t draw digitally but she doesn’t mind a bit of tech to make her works more accessible. Featuring a variety of illustration prints, clay dishes and tote bags with subdued sea blues, abstract spooky flowers and hands grasping galore, Esme’s art is a tad creepy while being curiously inviting.

Behind Esme is KANGA, one of the most interesting (and practical) art forms on display. With crochet hats, gloves, bags, bracelets and balaclavas perfectly positioned ahead of the Midlands winter, I’m really struggling not to make a purchase of the oh so fluffy, vibrant works of art.

Rude Brown Dude, whose name “came across randomly but fits” says that he moved back to Brum in 2018 and also does poetry. However, what jumps out at me first are the handmade bracelets which he explains are made with his sister.

“We were very artsy growing up but we didn’t come from the most privileged background, when lockdown came around she started doing crafts and I did poetry and stickers.

“This is our way of having time together and saying let’s go craft. She’s a big reason for why I am the way I am,” reflects Rude Brown Dude.

Rude Brown Dude has also got 69 ready-to-be personalised zines which cost £4.20, featuring his poetry, stickers and ‘gaff’. Which I think means ‘graff’, but obviously means graffiti.

Last but not least, it’s the Peroni Slut/Maddie who’s selling ‘Nice Italian Beer’ T’s, a print of her sexuality/an aerial view of Birmingham’s spaghetti junction, and her soul.

Her soul’s price is negotiable and I’m in need of a fresh one – I wonder if I can get her down to £3.59, it’s all the change I’ve got on me.

For more from Your Aunty’s Art Sale check out their Instagram @urauntysartsale

For more from Dig Brew go to: www.digbrewco.com