Last week, on Wednesday 1st November, we launched our latest station exhibition. The artwork by Rider Shafique, a multi-disciplined creative from Gloucester, centres around identity features images of individuals from the local black community.
The exhibition celebrates the county’s rich cultural heritage and links to the railway. We were delighted to be joined on the day by Rider, members of the community who feature in the photography, local press and partners to celebrate the launch of the exhibition at Gloucester station.
About the exhibition, Rider says:
“Following World War II, the British Government sent out a call to the Caribbean for help to rebuild its weakened economy. Commonwealth citizens were invited to migrate to different parts of the UK to help rebuild due to severe labour shortages. The British Railways were one of the employers for many of the Caribbean migrants who had moved to this country. Sadly, many of the first generation of Caribbean migrants are no longer with us but I wanted to recognise their efforts and contributions and also show the relevance for their descendants and wider community living in Gloucestershire today. I hope to have done this with a series of photographs and quotes taken from members of Gloucestershire's Caribbean community in and around the local train stations”.
The day started with the launch of the exhibition, a few cupcakes, and was followed by a walk into Gloucester city centre, to St Mary’s de Crypt. Using the Black History map, produced in collaboration with Black Ark Media, we shared an experience to discover more about the city’s past and influential people of that time; notably George Whitefield. A plaque outside the church was updated by the council earlier in 2023 to acknowledge a more rounded account of the historical figure’s past and links to the slave trade.
The Black History map aims to deepen the understanding of both Britain and its Black British inhabitants while promoting cultural appreciation, active lifestyles, and community engagement. Derrick McLean and Ronnie McGrath, founders of Black Ark Media, led the walk from the station. Derrick adds
"Through this map, we hope to foster cultural understanding, celebrate diversity, and help create a sense of unity within the Gloucestershire community."
The black history map is available to download here and paper copies can be found at Gloucester train station and other stations around the county.
The exhibition is available to see at Gloucester, Stroud, Stonehouse and Cam and Dursley train stations until the new year. Gloucestershire Community Rail Partnership kindly thanks Community Rail Network and the Department for Transport for funding which made these exhibitions possible.
Thank you to the local press who came to the launch and for helping us to share the exhibition update with the local community.
Gloucestershire Live (map feature) - https://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk/news/gloucester-news/mapped-gloucestershire-places-you-can-8882795
GCRP Community Exhibitions
Gloucestershire Community Rail Partnership supports the development of community exhibitions by local people at Gloucester, Stroud, Stonehouse and Cam & Dursley stations. To get involved email info@GCRP.org.uk