Cafe Opus at Ikon to give taste of the Caribbean.

Something slightly different in this post for you. 

I’ve always loved art and photography. 

I’ve been familiar with Vanley Burke’s photography for many years. I grew up in Handsworth in inner city Birmingham and many of the photographs he takes and has took have been of that area and the areas surrounding it that I’m familiar with. 

His photos have captured the experiences of the African-Caribbean community’s arrival in Britain, the different landscapes and cultures he encountered. Seeing to counteract any perception of negative or stereotypical imagery of black people found in mainstream media. 

Born in Jamaica Vanley Burke came to England in 1965. His first notable exhibition was called ‘Handsworth from the inside’ and was held at the Ikon Gallery in 1983.

Cafe Opus is joining forces with the ‘Godfather of British Black photography’ to fuse art with food for a special event on Wednesday 22nd July 2015. 

Cafe Opus which is based at the Ikon Gallery on Oozells Street, is hosting a summer party to celebrate Vanley Burke’s latest exhibition, At Home With Vanley Burke, which will be shown at Ikon from 22nd July. 

To celebrate the launch, chefs from Cafe Opus will be dishing up some of Vanley’s favourite Caribbean inspired food, including his own secret recipe jerk chicken, as well as barbequed lamb and vegetarian pittas. 

Food and art fans will also be able to enjoy an exclusive cocktail, ‘The Vanley’, as well as live music from a steel band and reggae sound system Wassifa Showcase. 

The launch party is to honour Vanley’s latest exhibition, which will see the entire contents of his treasure cove home in Nechells, north-east Birmingham, transported to Ikon’s main exhibition space. The display will show how the normally ordinary is turned extraordinary in Vanley’s world, from an eclectic collection of posters, clothes and records, to unusual sculptures including a barbed wire gun and a jacket made entirely from pages of the Bible.

Speaking of the event, Irene Allan, director at Cafe Opus, said: “Vanley’s latest exhibition will be a real insight into his life, so what better way for fans to gain the full experience than to get a taste of his cooking style too. Working with Vanley to perfect his favourite dish, jerk chicken – which is delicious – has been a delight. We’ll even be serving Vanley’s favourite Ginger cake (suitable for vegetarians) on the night and throughout the exhibition.” 

Vanley’s Summer Party takes place on Wednesday 22nd July, from 8pm to 11pm at Cafe Opus at Ikon Gallery. 

To book tickets, please visit or call 0121 248 0708. Tickets cost £10 and include one free drink and one free dish. 

Please note Ikon’s At Home With Vanley Burke exhibition will not be open during the event. Visitors can view the exhibition on Wednesday 22nd July between 6pm to 8pm, or during Ikon’s normal opening times from Thursday 23rd July to Sunday 27th September.  


All photographs by Vanley’s Burke. 

Thanks for reading. 

Andy 😊


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