Tate Britain: Life Between Islands

  • Laura Spence
  • Soraya Chumroo
  • Logan Kingsbeer

Running alongside Tate Britain’s Life Between Islands, a landmark showcase of seventy years of Caribbean-British art, we worked as their media partner to bring heritage stories from the community back onto the streets of London, creating a city-wide street exhibition. Having received universal acclaim, Life Between Islands explored "the work of artists from the Caribbean who made their home in Britain, alongside other British artists whose work has been influenced and inspired by Caribbean themes and heritage." Centring around the formations of community and identity, it celebrated visionary artists, photographers, designers and creatives who have altered the course of British culture and transformed contemporary society through their practices.

Designed as a community-orientated extension to Life Between Islands, our pop-up street gallery with Tate Britain took over our billboards, as well as buildings, spaces and places across the capital, sharing newly told stories about London’s Caribbean communities and cultural heritage. It highlighted cinemas, markets, clubs, libraries, community centres and restaurants – inviting passers-by and those intentionally exploring the route to hear the voices of people who have loved, used, and perhaps had their identity and work shaped by, the locations featured.
Stories from the likes of Steve McQueen CBE, Hew Locke, Grace Wales Bonner, Neil Kenlock, Wyn Baptiste and Ingrid Pollard cover Ridley Road Market in Dalston, Crystal Palace Farm, the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton, Notting Hill Carnival’s Trini Hall, Alexandra Palace, Matchstick Piehouse in Deptford, and many, many more community spots, taking inspiration from English Heritage’s Blue Plaque scheme with over 40 stories and sites to explore.

The pop-up exhibition with Tate Britain brings the experiences of artists, community leaders and Tate’s own staff network together, subsequently forming a beautiful picture of how Caribbean-British culture came to thrive in London – despite politicised existences.