Prevent Watch

Birmingham Museums purchases street art challenging Prevent

birmingham museums prevent extremism faisal hussain

Birmingham artist Faisal Hussain’s We Must Not Be Extreme has been purchased by Birmingham Museums. It is part of an existing series of sculptural works that challenge Prevent, entitled Suspect Objects Suspect Subjects.

Of the series, Hussain wrote:

extreme extremism prevent faisal hussain

“It was developed in London and Birmingham as social commentary on the climate of fear that followed the creation of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act (2015) and its continuing enforcement and morphing over the years. This is a period marked by the importance of identity, the catalysing of racism, and the rise of Islamophobia in the UK, but also in Europe.

The artwork combines two common cliches of the migrant communities: its production of food with society’s fear of extremism. Crude commodification shines through these shops’ signs, and the media’s control over the identities of the community forces a mantra of innocence to be declared.

I wanted to juxtapose this history of trade and migration and introduction with statements to do with discussion and argument and portrayal.”

The BBC, ITV, The Guardian, The National (UAE) and others have cited the work. A film of the work installed at SOAS University of London can also be seen on the Suspect Objects website.

In early 2022, the sculptures formed an open air public exhibition entitled Suspect Signage along a mapped trail along Northdown Road in Margate, Birmingham.

The series also formed part of a 2021 combined exhibition entitled It Might be Nothing, But It Could be Something at Eastside Projects.




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