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Ridley Road Stories - Part Two

29th September 2021

We catch up with Future Hackney as they unveil the second phase of their Ridley Road Stories series, a National Lottery supported street exhibition documenting and celebrating the African and Caribbean locals on Ridley Road and Gillett Square.

Ridley Road Stories Exhibition, Mare Street

Working at the intersections of photography and social engagement, Future Hackney develops relationships within their community in order to encourage members to express wider societal experiences, such as mental health, exclusion, confinement and being non-binary, in relation to the African and Caribbean experience.

As a participatory arts project, Ridley Road Stories continues to document black lives in Dalston, encouraging those involved to share and archive their own histories. They combine documentary, street portraits and co-authorship to create a hybrid genre of photographic storytelling and produce outdoor exhibitions that are inclusive.

Future Hackney believes that the visual arts should be on the streets for everyone, and that exterior public art spaces should be recognised as ‘the new gallery’.

Following the success of the first phase of Ridley Road Stories, in the second phase of this initiative, Future Hackney has installed large format images as an exterior gallery in East London. They've allowed us a closer look at the stories behind the striking images on display in Dalston...

Ngozi and Rosanna: "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."

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

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

Kennyetta: "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."

Ryan: "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."


You can learn more about Ridley Road Stories by visiting the Future Hackney website and you can find the Ridley Road Stories exhibition at Hackney Central Bridge, Mare Street, Hackney E8 1HY.

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 collaboration with Hackney’s Windrush initiative commissioned by Create London, and is supported thanks to National Lottery players.