The launch night featured inspiring speeches from the Mayor of Lambeth, Ibrahim Dogus; the Mayoress of Lewisham, Barbara Gray; and EVEWRIGHT. The artist dedicated the exhibition to his mother, Clarice Reid, who was present and is one of the Windrush elders featured in the installation.
This pop-up exhibition is based on an installation originally staged in Colchester, Essex in 2018 by artist EVEWRIGHT, who took over and transformed S&S Caribbean Takeaway, the only Caribbean-owned working takeaway in Colchester. The idea was to create an innovative and engaging installation in an informal setting owned and controlled by the Caribbean community.
We value the importance of our community telling their stories in their own voices. The installation showed how community spaces can be repurposed to share our stories and reach people in their own settings. It challenged perceptions of where art can be experienced and enjoyed.
The Caribbean takeaway is an important cultural meeting place in the Caribbean community. A home from home, the kitchen is where meals are prepared, but also where stories are exchanged and shared. Going back to African roots, cooking and the Dutch pot or cooking pot was the central place for the family activity. The takeaway has just as much cultural importance as the barbershop and the hairdressing salon for black communities living and working in the UK.
This installation has now been transferred as a site-specific experience at the Migration Museum’s Breathing Space Café. The Café has been taken over, repurposed and transformed into an art installation featuring limited-edition photo etchings of 12 Windrush Generation elders produced by EVEWRIGHT, along with audio interviews and sound recordings of these Windrush Pioneers compiled by his team at Evewright Arts Foundation (EAF).
It is an immersive experience, with walls and table tops covered in vinyls, photographs and documents of participants to reflect their lives and memories. Listen to Alford Gardner’s experience on the Empire Windrush in 1948, hear how these 12 elders tackled racism, and how through their perseverance and resilience they were able to overcome barriers to make a life in Britain. Their legacy has been the positive impact they have made on Britain today. Visitors are encouraged to commemorate their own, or their parent’s arrival by adding their own stories to passport postcards on our memorial wall or online.
The programme includes a Caribbean Activity Day bringing together elders who contributed to theinstallation with members of the public, as part of nationwide Windrush Day celebrations on Saturday 22 June and a spoken word event. For more information, visit:
An artist talk as part of the Migration Museum’s TalkingART Lates series will be held on Thursday 27 June with artist EVEWRIGHT. To register go to:
As a Black British artist EVEWRIGHT said, “This work is about the sharing, celebrating and preservation of our stories and history. Art is a good way of ensuring the stories of these pioneers from the Windrush Generation are remembered. Their presence has left a legacy and impact on future generations and British society as a whole. This installation is informative, educational and immersive and I am delighted to see how it engages a diverse range of people to experience and enjoy. “
Project Producer Ionie Richards said, “It was a rewarding experience for us to record the lives of ordinary but extraordinary people from the Windrush Generation most were in their 80s or 90s. This installation will help raise awareness and bring to new audiences’ first-hand accounts of untold stories of a disappearing generation before it is lost. As a legacy of this project these audio stories are preserved by Essex Records Office to share with the public.”
One of the Windrush elders who took part in the project said: “This is an excellent idea to keep history alive. Black people need to know where they come from, to help them to move forward.” Carol Sydney.
This project is in partnership with the Migration Museum and supported using public funding by Arts Council England.