Manchester Museum is set to host a captivating exhibition featuring one of the largest vinyl archives of South Asian music in the UK. The exhibition, titled “Request Line” and curated by artist Faisal Hussain, will debut on July 19th in the museum’s South Asia Gallery, presented as part of True Form Projects’ vinyl archive.
The impressive collection of over 3000 vinyl records was salvaged by the archive in 2017 when Mohammed Ayub’s renowned Oriental Star Agencies record store in Birmingham faced closure. During the ’80s, many of these records found their way to the airwaves as they were played on BBC Radio West Midlands during the “East in West” radio show by Mohammed Ayub, Anita Bhalla, and Farah Durrani.
Described as an influential and significant part of South Asian history and diaspora in the UK and beyond, the Oriental Star Agencies store and label made a lasting impact. In 2017, True Form Projects took on the mission of preserving this musical heritage, rescuing much of the record collection and other artifacts for archiving, ensuring their safeguarding for future generations.
The “Request Line” installation, taking place during South Asian Heritage Month, will feature a curated selection of these precious records, along with their original vinyl sleeves. It will also showcase handwritten requests sent in by people during the 1980s, offering an intimate glimpse into Birmingham’s South Asian community of that era.
The exhibition will not only focus on the vinyl collection but also include videos, animations, rare memorabilia, and listening stations. To enrich the experience, artist Faisal Hussain will be part of the event, engaging in conversations, while DJ Rizmi and Chandé will contribute with DJ sets.
Founded in 2012, True Form Projects is a social enterprise dedicated to collecting oral histories, artifacts, and personal stories that celebrate the vibrant South Asian diaspora communities across the UK.
Written by: Artificial Intelligence Technology