Gloucestershire Community Rail Partnership launches new exhibition
By David Wood
Gloucestershire Community Rail Partnership has launched a new exhibition connecting the county's history to its current day diversity.
The photography exhibition was created by Rider Shafique, a multi-disciplined creative from Gloucester, whose work centres around identity.
Featuring images of individuals from the local black community, the exhibition celebrates the county's rich cultural heritage.
About the exhibition, Rider says: "Following World War II, the British Government sent out a call to the Caribbean for help to rebuild its weakened economy. Commonwealth citizens were invited to migrate to different parts of the UK to help rebuild due to severe labour shortages.
"The British Railways were one of the employers for many of the Caribbean migrants who had moved to this country. Sadly, many of the first generation of Caribbean migrants are no longer with us but I wanted to recognise their efforts and contributions and also show the relevance for their descendants and wider community living in Gloucestershire today.
"I hope to have done this with a series of photographs and quotes taken from members of Gloucestershire's Caribbean community in and around the local train stations."
The work links to the first ever Gloucestershire Black History Map, produced by Black Ark Media in partnership with Gloucestershire Community Rail Partnership and with support from Active Gloucestershire.
The map aims to deepen the understanding of both Britain and its black British inhabitants while promoting cultural appreciation, active lifestyles, and community engagement.
The exhibition launch yesterday (Wednesday, November 1) was followed by a walk, led by Derrick McLean and Ronnie McGrath, founders of Black Ark Media, from the station, into Gloucester city centre to visit some of the locations of Black British History.
Derrick added: "Through this map, we hope to foster cultural understanding, celebrate diversity, and help create a sense of unity within the Gloucestershire community."
It is hoped that the map encourages more people to learn about the county's history, with the thought-provoking images from the exhibition bringing that history into the present day context.
The exhibition is available to see at Gloucester, Stroud, Stonehouse and Cam and Dursley train stations.
Gloucestershire Community Rail Partnership kindly thanks the Community Rail Network and the Department for Transport for funding which made these exhibitions possible.
Gloucestershire Community Rail Partnership supports the development of community exhibitions by local people at Gloucester, Stroud, Stonehouse and Cam & Dursley stations.
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