The latest exhibition at the iconic OXO Gallery on South Bank Riverside Walkway tells the story of Clapham’s Windrush generation through a vibrant series of photographs and interviews by photographer Jim Grover.
Jim, 60, has lived in Clapham for thirty years and embarked on the project after discovering a dominoes club where the West Indian Community meet to play three times a week.
Surprised he’d previously been unaware of this tradition on his doorstep, he realised there was a bigger story to be told, beyond dominoes, about a way of life, rich with character and bound with tradition.
Jim, a businessman by trade, has been recognised in many prestigious competitions including the The Sony World Photography Awards, despite only turning his hand to photography fairly recently.
Speaking about his career change, he said: “Five years ago I decided to change my life and now half my time is spent in the arts, photography.
“I collect, I take, I exhibit. I do lots of things in the photographic world but what I most like doing is telling stories about people.”
The experience of attending the exhibition is akin to reading a story, which starts with individual tales of those who arrived to help Britain fight in WWII or to join their families, or just to start a new life.
The narrative then moves on towards distinct communities such as the ‘Stockwell Good Neighbours’ group and Clapham’s domino clubs.
Other walls cover traditions such as the ‘Jamaican front room’, ‘Saturday Soup’, and a ‘Nine Night’, a 9 day ritual whereby family mourn the loss of a loved one by celebrating their life.
It took Jim 70 photoshoots and one year to put the exhibition together and his sense of familiarity and warmth towards his subjects is infectious.
Notably, Jim embarked on the project before the recent furore surrounding the government’s treatment of Windrush residents.
The exhibition therefore doesn’t have a political agenda and instead pays tribute to a fantastically vibrant community with a sense of life which leaps out of every photograph.
The exhibition runs until June 10th at the OXO gallery, and is free to attend.
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