News

19/06/18

WINDRUSH 70 – Brent’s Pioneering Windrush Generation

This summer Brent Culture Service will be marking the 70th anniversary of the arrival of Empire Windrush with an exhibition and a number of themed events. Windrush 70 – Brent’s Pioneering Windrush Generation traces the historic journey and explores Brent’s Caribbean Heritage through the eyes of its residents. Using a mixture of photographic portraits, stories collected from residents, historic objects and unique artist commissions it
celebrates 70 years of the United Kingdom’s Caribbean diaspora. Zerritha Brown, Cultural Operations Manager and Artistic Director for Windrush 70 said:

“It was important to mark the 70th anniversary particularly as Brent has a large Caribbean community. The Caribbean diaspora is present in modern life, with influences evident in fashion, music, dance as well as the world of entertainment, sport and politics, yet still, the story of Windrush is not widely known. I wanted the exhibition to provide a platform to showcase the stories of the Windrush generation. “It has been an honour developing Windrush70. We have met some inspirational people and uncovered some truly emotional stories which have highlighted the resilience, pride and courage of the Windrush community who came here to strive for a better
life.”

Intern Assistant Project Producer, Kyron Greenwood said:

Intimate portraits of Brent’s Caribbean community by artist and photographer Nadia Nervo offer an insight into their daily lives. Two original poems by Malika Booker narrate the experiences of the community’s first arrival in the ‘Mother Country’. A commission by Mahogany Carnival Design – made by students from Queens Park Community School, Harlesden Primary School and Alperton High School combines tradition with legacy. An
installation of a traditional ‘West Indian’ living room closes the exhibition representing the many homes that have been made in Brent. “I already knew quite a bit about Windrush before I began work on the project, I am of Caribbean descent and have a Grandfather who came over to the UK a few years after the Empire Windrush. I am aware though, that a lot of young people, even those who are of Caribbean descent, don’t know much about this history and I think this project is a great way to raise awareness of these moving and interesting stories.”

 

The ‘Windrush’ generation were named from the ship, Empire Windrush, which arrived at the Tilbury docks on 22 June 1948 from the Caribbean. The passengers had been invited to come to Britain to help with the post-war
reconstruction. This event is often seen as the beginning of immigration from the Caribbean that would go on to have such a profound and lasting effect on the culture, fashion and music of Britain. The people interviewed for the Windrush 70 project came here to work in a wide variety of fields. Areas of work included: medicine, transport, industry, music, construction, entertainment, sport, politics and fashion. One of the oldest participants is 97 year old Mr Rev. Norman Watson Mitchell MBE. He came to Britain from Jamaica in 1955 to work as a Glass Quality Control Inspector. His first home in London was in Forrest Hill where for two years he lived in cramped conditions sharing a house with fifteen other Caribbean migrants, his bedroom was shared with seven other people. As well as the exhibition Brent Culture Service will be holding a series of Windrush70 events. The
highlight will be Windrush Celebration Day on Saturday 23 June 12noon-4pm at the Library at Willesden Green. There will be an afternoon of free events for all ages including: live music from St Michaels and All Angels Steel Orchestra and the Reggae Choir, dance performances from Namron Dance and a specially commissioned dance theatre piece by Impact Dance along with Caribbean themed face painting and craft workshop.

Further details of Windrush events will be available at www.brent.gov.uk/lwg The exhibition will be on 21 June – 29 October at the Library at Willesden Green, entrance to the exhibition is free of charge.
Windrush 70 has been funded by Arts Council England with support from the British Library and Reggae choir.

For further information about Windrush 70 and Brent Culture please contact culture@brent.gov.uk