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Outdoor photography exhibition celebrates Dalston locals

PUBLISHED: 12:37 20 November 2020 | UPDATED: 12:37 20 November 2020

Ten environmental portraits are currently on display as part of the Ridley Road Stories exhibition. Picture: Wayne R Crichlow

Ten environmental portraits are currently on display as part of the Ridley Road Stories exhibition. Picture: Wayne R Crichlow

Archant

An outdoor photography exhibition seeking to document the beating cultural heart of Dalston is now open.

Ten environmental portraits are currently on display as part of the Ridley Road Stories exhibition. Picture: Jeff AdamsTen environmental portraits are currently on display as part of the Ridley Road Stories exhibition. Picture: Jeff Adams

Arts collective Future Hackney, a group of storytellers dedicated to chronicling social change in community spaces, last week launched the first of multi-part series Ridley Road Stories.

Ten environmental portraits of residents who live and work on the street are currently on display at the British Red Cross on Dalston Lane.

The project, which has been in the pipeline since 2017, also shines a spotlight on the African and Caribbean communities which have long breathed life into the market street.

READ MORE: Council dismisses ‘lack of transparency’ claims at Ridley Road Shopping Village

“It’s about representation,” said Future Hackney co-founder Donna Travis, who grew up in and still lives around the area.

Ten environmental portraits are currently on display as part of the Ridley Road Stories exhibition. Picture: Israel WilsonTen environmental portraits are currently on display as part of the Ridley Road Stories exhibition. Picture: Israel Wilson

“Instead of having just wealthy advertisements on our walls, we should have images of ourselves.”

The celebration of locals piqued the interest of photographer Wayne Crichlow, whose parents were part of the Windrush generation.

“It just resonated with me,” he said. “I remember being dragged up to Ridley Road as a child with my siblings, and following my mother around to different stalls.

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“To me, Ridley Road Stories is an opportunity to create history for future generations.”

Wayne is now co-producer of the series, alongside Donna, as getting the community involved was especially important for both.

“We’re not here to exploit them to take images and make money off them,” said Wayne.

“We want the community to be a part of the creative process, rather than just being a subject,” Donna added, explaining everyone photographed had been “consulted” before the exhibition went live.

They initially considered displaying the photographs in art galleries, but changed tack when locals expressed discomfort.

“Our spaces need to reflect us,” Donna said. “If we went ahead (with an art gallery), we’d be alienating the very people Ridley Road Stories is about.”

Ridley Road Stories (Part One) is free and will remain on show for a year.

Plans to launch Part Two are already underway, and Future Hackney hopes to display the next instalment on Ridley Road itself.

“We’ve got the funding so we’re just waiting on Hackney Council to give us the go-ahead,” Wayne confirmed.


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