Mary Evans and Michael Elliott Windrush Portraits

Images (left to right): Michael Elliott, Storm In a Teacup, 2018. Courtesy the artist • Mary Evans, Please Do Not Bend 14, 2015. Courtesy the artist

During February, as part of Co-Creating Public Space, and throughout Black History Month in the Caribbean and USA, Kingston Creative, Jamaica is partnering with UK organisations John Hansard Gallery, Black History Month South, and Southampton Black Archives to celebrate and commemorate the Windrush generation and give voice to the subsequent Windrush scandal.

Windrush Portraits is the first stage of a transatlantic artistic collaboration with communities in both Kingston, Jamaica and Southampton, UK. During February 2023 and 2024, artists Mary Evans (based in UK) and Michael Elliott (based in Jamaica) will present iconic artworks that highlight the legacy of the Windrush generation and migration on print and digital billboards across Jamaica. The artists will subsequently undertake exchange visits to Southampton and Kingston to meet Caribbean communities in Southampton and Windrush returnees in Kingston. These visits will result in new artworks, created in collaboration with communities that will be presented during October 2023 (Black History Month in the UK) in both Southampton, UK and Kingston, Jamaica.

For this project, Michael Elliott’s and Mary Evans’ artworks will explore the personal, political, social and post-colonial legacy of the Empire Windrush and the Windrush Generation of West Indian migrants (as well as their descendants) who arrived in the UK from 1948–1971. Under the UK government’s ‘hostile environment’ policy from 2009, some members of the Windrush Generation and their families were wrongfully persecuted and deported from the UK and returned to Jamaica. These returnees often lost their homes, livelihoods, and health because of the UK government’s actions, that has become known as the Windrush scandal.

Windrush Portraits will be developed through conversations with Caribbean communities in Kingston, Jamaica and Southampton, UK to celebrate the individuals, highlight the injustices, and commemorate the important contribution of the Windrush Generation to the UK’s recovery in the post-war period.

Windrush Portraits has been developed in partnership with Kingston Creative and has been supported by iPrint, Jamaica and ROK Hotel Kingston, Jamaica. Windrush Portraits is part of the programme Co-Creating Public Space, led by John Hansard Gallery, with support from Arts Council England, Southampton City Council, GO! Southampton and University of Southampton.

Billboards will be on display across Jamaica throughout February 2023 and 2024.

An online Artist Talk with Michael Elliott and Mary Evans, chaired by Dr Kim-Marie Spence, will launch the project on Wednesday 1 February 2023 at 1pm (Jamaica EST), 6pm (UK GMT).

In partnership with

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