The MV Empire Windrush carried the first wave of West Indian immigrants from the British Colonies to England in June 1948. Originally invited by the British government to help with England’s labour shortages, many West Indian immigrants left their families and friends to embark on a new journey.
This move marked the beginning of a new era, and paved the way for many subsequent migrations.
The Windrush Legacy focuses on individuals from the West Indian Diaspora, who immigrated to England in the 1950s and 1960s. This move provided them with work and opportunities of further education in the Motherland (England).
Promises of golden paved streets and equality may not have been a reality, but each member has adapted to their situation, making personal sacrifices, and created their own legacy and history in a country some of them now regard as home. Overcoming everyday struggles such as racism and low income, they have managed to gain professions and pass on traditions and morals to their growing families. Many of them claiming that their faith and support from others provided the much needed encouragement to get them through the tough times.
My series of environmental portraits has been taken in the front room of the subjects houses. In Afro Caribbean culture this is usually the room which acts like a ‘shrine’ and holds not only all the family pictures, but gives a glimpse into the past of the sitter and the memories held in them. The accompanying still life images give an insight into the subjects environment and the treasures of sentimental value.