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.
For one month, the Breathing Space Café at the Migration Museum will be 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 will be 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 and through their legacy have made an impact on Britain today. Visitors will be encouraged to commemorate their own parent's arrival by adding their own stories to passport postcards on our memorial wall or online.
Educational tours are programmed with schools and visitors throughout July. Contact the museum for more details: https://www.migrationmuseum.org/education/
S&S Caribbean Takeaway in Essex was the original takeover location for the art installation, which is now being brought to London and updated to include a number of stories from Caribbean elders in London as well as stories from its original staging in Essex.
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. It includes stories from passengers who arrived in the UK on HMS Almansora in 1947 and SS Empire Windrush in 1948. As a legacy of this project these audio stories are preserved by Essex Record 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.