Evewright Arts Foundation (EAF) is a not for profit voluntary community organisation. We are passionate to seek out, find and preserve valuable untold stories from marginalised Black communities and present them in informal settings in an innovative and engaging way bringing hard to reach young and older generations together. We value the importance of our community telling their stories in their own voice.
The Project
Evewright Arts Foundation (EAF) decided to take over and appropriate the only Caribbean owned takeaway in Colchester Essex in June 2018 in order to create an exciting art and sound installation to celebrate the 70 th anniversary of the landing of the SS Empire Windrush in Tilbury Essex in June 1948.
Ten selected Caribbean elders who arrived in the UK between the 1940’s-1960’s
volunteered to share their stories with the public using voice and sound recordings. Their stories revealed their journeys, their lives in Britain today, the impact of their contribution to British society and the legacy they will each leave behind.
Artist EVEWRIGHT created a further intervention in the takeaway café space creating
special limited-edition portraits of the participants using photo etching as a medium. This project, Caribbean Takeaway Takeover Identities and Stories, was displayed in a free exhibition which was open to the public at S&S Caribbean Café & Takeaway, a working café, and focus for the black community in Colchester.
The space was taken over, repurposed and transformed into art installation where sound recordings of the elder’s stories were played throughout the day during the project period. The takeaway continued to function as an eatery allowing visitors an opportunity to sample Caribbean cuisine. The installation remained in situ for a further month.
Outcome
This was an art and sound installation of stories from ten Caribbean elders that went on display at S&S Café & Takeaway, 39 St John Street Colchester this summer. A private view took place on the 21 June 2018 and the opening weekend took place on the Saturday 23 to Sunday 24 th June 2018.
See latest BBC Video interview
BBC News East interviewed Lenore Sykes one of the elder who participated in the art and sound installation and EVEWRIGHT the Creative Director & Artist.  Hear them speak about their experiences on the links below:
EAF recruited volunteers to assist in the project and ten elders were interviewed. Each
recording was edited to provide ten x 10-minute extracts which was played over a 2-hour period on the opening Saturday 23 June and daily thereafter. An extended 30 minutes longer version was played over 5 hours on Sunday 24 June of the opening weekend.
Ten photo-etchings were produced by creative director Artist Evewright (Everton Wright) of each of the participants and innovative wall and table vinyls produced to capture the past and present lives of each elder to make the café an immersive living archive.
EAF also created passport postcards which visitors to the installation filled in and posted their migration stories to a memory board in the café. These will also be shared online. This was a very popular activity and tool for sharing stories.
A further special elders’ luncheon was held on the 26 th June 2018 to celebrate participants and other invited elders of the Windrush Generation. The installation was due to end on the 22 July 2018 but due to the level of interest the exhibition stayed open for an additional week which ended on the 29 th July 2018.
Why the project was located in a Caribbean Takeaway
The Caribbean take away 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. This was the first time such an exhibition was hosted in this unique setting giving a platform to people whose untold stories could be shared with the wider community. This was very successful attracting many people including hard to reach members of the public who would not have gone to a formal setting such as a gallery or a dedicated space to see the installation.
Further information
For images of selected photo etchings and for interviews please contact Ionie Richards Email: ionie@evewrightstudio.com or Tel: +44 (0) 8450 542 305
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