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Documenting our hidden heritage at new exhibition

TRAILBLAZERS: The new Expectations photography exhibition will give a glimpse into the many struggles faced by leaders
of the black community in the 1960s and 1970s

BLACK CULTURAL ARCHIVES (BCA) is currently hosting a new exhibition titled Expectations: The Untold Story of Black British Community Leaders in the 1960s and 1970s, that is a must-see.

The exhibition will take over the entire building for two months, launching with a VIP opening this Tuesday and running until September 28.

Funded by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, made possible by money raised from National Lottery players, the exhibition has been curated by acclaimed photographer Neil Kenlock and his daughter Emelia Kenlock.

Situated in the heart of Brixton, Lambeth and created to raise awareness of untold stories from black British culture, as well as giving access to younger generations and sparking discussion, Expectations will be a "live exhibition", inviting the community to respond and share their ideas and impressions of the photographs.

The exhibition compromises of photography from the archives of Kenlock himself, once the official photographer of the British Black Panthers and the co-founder of Choice FM.

Seventy years on from the arrival of the Empire Windrush into Great Britain, the Expectations exhibition is a celebration of British black community leaders, many of whom come from the Windrush Generation.

The exhibit includes 70 photographic images featured in the project to celebrate the 70-year anniversary of the Windrush, and a selection of these images is shown across the Black Cultural Archives with three themes of challenges, collaboration and change.

Covering the 1960s to the 1970s, Expectations will include some breathtaking images from Kenlock’s vault, including the notorious “Keep Britain White” from 1972 that depicted the resistance to black immigration.

Giving a unique insight into the lives and experiences of the first generation African and Caribbean leaders who settled in the UK and influenced the community in Lambeth and the surrounding boroughs, the exhibition features a number of features a number of luminaries such as Darcus Howe (broadcaster and civil rights campaigner), Olive Morris (anti-discrimination, women’s and squatters’ rights campaigner), Lord David Pitt (Baron of Hampstead, Labour Party politician, GP and political activist), Arthur Stanley Wint OD MBE (first Jamaican Olympic gold medallist and Jamaica’s High Commissioner) and Steve Barnard, (first black BBC radio presenter with a reggae music show).

Speaking on the exhibition, Kenlock said: "Many young black people from our community only engage with heritage when they visit museums, during their educational studies.

“This project aims to give access to examples of black leadership, as well as archive material outside of the normal educational environment.

“Over 50 years since the concept of ‘black excellence’ first manifested and 70 years on from the Windrush, I truly hope the exhibition will add to the national cultural narrative and resonate with new audiences.

“I would like to thank the BCA and the Heritage Lottery Fund for their support in the realising of this vision.”

Paul Reid, BCA director, said: “With the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, BCA are proud to host Expectations, it will be the first ‘exhibition takeover’ project of its kind at the BCA, that aims to increase public access to black cultural heritage whilst documenting past and present histories using unseen images.”

He added: “We would like to thank the trailblazer and thought-leader that is Neil Kenlock, for the access to such an incredible and unique collection of images.”

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