People United and Compton Verney Art Gallery & Park are delighted to announce that Birmingham-based street-artist, Foka Wolf, will be exploring the theme of Humour with local people from the West-Midlands.
Foka Wolf is an anonymous Birmingham based urban artist who has been pasting their work on the streets for over a decade. Their subject matter ranges from cartoons to celebrities, gory heads to thumbs up, but their most recognisable works are the joke adverts. Foka Wolf’s advertising agency has covered subjects including forehead extension surgery and rent-a-curse, tackling both comedy and serious political and social commentary.
Their art has garnered national attention and featured in media including Time Out, Metro, Evening Standard and the BBC. They have previously worked with partners including Ikon Gallery, TEDx, Glug and Beatfreeks, and held exhibitions at Bene Culture, Centrala and Attic Brewery.
“I am overjoyed to be working on a commission with People United and Compton Verney this September. Compton Verney was one of the first galleries I ever visited as a teenager, so I have fond memories of it.
People United have been involved in some fantastic projects over the last decade that bring happiness and kindness through the use of art, and that to me is what art is all about, so naturally I was drawn to their call out.” – Foka Wolf
Following the joint call-out from People United and Compton Verney in July of 2020, Foka Wolf said:
“The submission guidelines could have been made for me – text based artworks using humour to help people be more empathetic and kind towards one another.
I am really intrigued to see how this sort of work will sit in the a parkland and gallery setting. Usually my work is out on a road side, but here I can observe the Compton Verney gallerygoers reactions in the flesh. I am hoping to bring about some positivity through these installations and I can’t wait for people to see what we have in store.”
With the commission, People United and Comton Verney are interested in celebrating and exploring how humour can positively affect emotions and behaviour.
Janice McGuinness, CEO People United said:
“People United is delighted to be working with Compton Verney on this exciting project. It feels timely to be exploring and celebrating the way humour can shift our perspective and positively affect our emotions and behaviour. The prospect of People United, Compton Verney and Foka Wolf working together holds such promise, along with an exhilarating unpredictability, and I can’t wait to see the outcome of their collaboration – and of course to smile and laugh at it!”
Humour is a positive, uplifting, and refreshing theme that we hope will be engaging for the parkland visitors and online participants. We believe with the challenges of 2020 and COVID-19, humour has been one of the tools people have used to cope, and we hope that the project brings a little bit of joy to all those who take part or experience the artworks.
“At this momentous time we want Compton Verney to enhance wellbeing and creativity, fire the imagination, and be a place of solace – and this project is ideal for speaking to all that. We also want to support the economy of the sector and the region, so we are really delighted to be working with Foka Wolf, a local artist, on bringing this project to life.” – Compton Verney’s Julie Finch, CEO-Director
To support Foka Wolf to connect with people remotely, and to gather stories about the local sense of humour, People United and Compton Verney have already held two digital ‘Laughter Cafes’ in mid-August. The online cafes were hosted by Janice Connolly (BEM) who, as well as starring in shows such as Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights, is also known for her alter-ego, Birmingham icon and Britain’s Got Talent star, Mrs Barbara Nice. Janice is also the Artistic Director of Women & Theatre.
Local people from the West-Midlands joined Janice at two online events to share and discuss what has made them laugh in lockdown.
“Humanity has unquestionably one really effective weapon—laughter. In this extraordinary time we have found ourselves living through, humour has proved an important ally in its ability to strengthen our resilience as individuals and communities. In the Laughter Cafe sessions, I was struck by how often people cited the role that everyday interactions, language play and observations of daily family life had in eliciting laughter and humour.
I really look forward to seeing how these laugh out loud, lively, big hearted sessions inform the artwork in the grounds of Compton Verney.” – Janice Connolly
Everything from The Laughter Café events is now being used by Foka Wolf to create the new artwork/s that will be unveiled during September 2020.
For more information and to keep up to date with the project you can
Follow @people_united and @ComptonVerney on Twitter
@people_united_ and @compton_verney on Instagram
Like People United and Compton Verney Facebook page’s
With thanks to
Foka Wolf, Artist
Amy Banks, Creative Consultant at Compton Verney
Emma Butchart, Formal Learning Programmer at Compton Verney
Becky Vincer, Creative Programmes Coordinator at People United
Chloe Osborne, Creative Producer