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Ridley Road Stories

Documenting and celebrating the African and Caribbean locals of Hackney's Ridley Road

Our friends at Future Hackney present the second part of their Ridley Road Stories series of photographs, with a street exhibition documenting and celebrating the African and Caribbean locals on Ridley Road and Gillett Square. We're delighted to share them here, and they can also be seen by Hackney Central Bridge on Mare Street until September 2022, where Future Hackney have installed the work as an outdoor gallery.

As a participatory arts project Ridley Road Stories documents black lives in Dalston, encouraging those involved to share and archive their own histories. Working at the intersection of photography and social engagement Future Hackney develops relationships with participants and encourages them to express wider societal experiences such as mental health, exclusion, confinement and being non-binary as it relates to the African and Caribbean experience.

Ridley Road Stories Part 2

An outdoor display by Hackney Central Bridge on Mare Street until September 2022

Ibrahim, by Wayne Crichlow

"I play 80s soul music here outside my shop, where people come to socialise, dance and sometimes ask for help."

Bilqees and Lola, by Don Travis

"We are on our way to a wedding and came here to get our geles fitted. These head dresses are important in Yoruba culture - they are our crowns."

Illyassou, by Wayne Crichlow

"I got lost here when I was a baby, and when people found me, they took me back to my dad’s shop on Ridley Road."

Peter, by Don Travis

"The containers on Ridley Road are like a mini-Ghana. Everyone greets you when you arrive."

Joyclen, by Wayne Crichlow

"I brought my siblings to this place when I was younger. Now I bring these young men to change the narrative around the way young black youth are portrayed."

Ninette, by Wayne Crichlow

"This is a place of Afrocentric culture that I associate with the comfort of family."

Robert, by Wayne Crichlow

"I decided to set up my shop here selling yams from Ghana, to be around people who give me a sense of strength and belonging."

Denis, by Don Travis

"I’m a Kingstonian, born in Jamaica. I came to this country in 1961, and stood by what my grandfather told me: 'Stand up for liberty and defend those who are weak'. People around here know me as Denis The Champ."

Aziz, by Don Travis

"I come to Gillett Square to be a part of the Zoom bike project. I love helping people and fixing things."

Ngozi and Rosanna, by Wayne Crichlow

"We both have a special relationship with this space handed down from our mothers. Our support for women of African and Caribbean heritage relates to our histories here on this road."

Trevor, by Don Travis

"Life is better than fiction on this road. There is always something happening."

Ryan, by Don Travis

"I came here from the Bahamas to be myself and challenge the way people see gender norms. I’d like to go back there in the future and tell young people that it’s okay to be who you want to be."

Atreka, by guest youth photographer Terence Douet

"We are a plant-based Caribbean family and restaurant in Dalston. Everyone knows us as All Nations, we know them as kings and queens."

Errol, by Don Travis

"People tell me my record shop reminds them of Ridley Road back in the 70s and 80s. My lion paw mural is inspired by the Lion of Judah, representing strength, kingship and pride."

Soniya, by Don Travis

"I like to offer natural goodness to the people of Ridley Road, which I believe is nectar from the gods."

Malakai, by Don Travis

"If you come to my barber shop on Ridley Road, we are probably going to talk about Africa or Fela Kuti."

Azbera, by Don Travis

"From a young child I dreamt of coming here, so I try to live a humble life and be conscious of the love of people and what is temporary."

Kennyetta, by Don Travis

"I arrived in Hackney from Monserrat, after a volcanic eruption mash up my country. I started coming to Gillett Square to feel the sound systems."

Ridley Road Stories Part 2

An outdoors display by Hackney Central Bridge on Mare Street until September 2022


Ridley Road Stories Is A future Hackney Project

Future Hackney is a long-term project that documents social change in East London. Local visual storytellers work alongside residents to create a living archive of a rapidly changing East London.  This exhibition is commissioned by Create London in partnership with Hackney Council and supported by the Freelands Foundation.


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Banner image: Errol [detail], by Don Travis. © the artists and courtesy of Future Hackney.

Image gallery: all images from Ridley Road Stories Part 2. © the artists and courtesy of Future Hackney.

Discover more images: 1) Heather McDonough, Cliff's Mother [detail], from the series RePose. 01. 2) Courtesy Future Hackney 3) Don Travis, Abu, from the series Ridley Road Stories Part 1, courtesy of Future Hackney.