West Indian Ex-Servicemen is a series of formal portraits of Caribbean men of the Windrush generation who volunteered to fight for Britain during the Second World War, photographed at the Association of West Indian Ex-Servicemen and Women in Lambeth, South London. The series, by Dave Lewis, was commissioned by Autograph in 1994 and is now a part of our permanent collection.
Tens of thousands of men and women from the Caribbean volunteered during the First and Second World Wars in the army, the RAF and as merchant seamen. These men and women were amongst the first post-war Caribbean migrants to settle permanently in Britain during the late 1940s, and they made a significant, yet often forgotten, contribution to the country during and after the war. Dave Lewis said: "One of the questions I wanted to ask through the images was, 'Would the second generation of black children born of Caribbean parentage, like myself, ever consider fighting for their mother country?'"
Dave Lewis is a photographer and lecturer teaching photographic practices across the disciplines of anthropology, fine art and commercial photography. His work has been exhibited in a number of venues such as The Photographers' Gallery, London - The Stephen Lawrence Report & Wall (2001); the National Gallery - Seduced by Art (2012); and Venice Biennale - Once Removed/My Father’s land (2017/2019). He is currently working on a new series of image/text works around making and being.
Autograph is a place to see things differently. Since 1988, we have championed photography that explores issues of race, identity, representation, human rights and social justice, sharing how photographs reflect lived experiences and shape our understanding of ourselves and others.Donate Join our mailing list