Gloucestershire CRP exhibition connects county’s history to current day diversity

Gloucestershire Community Rail Partnership (CRP) has launched an exhibition celebrating the county’s rich cultural heritage and links to the railway.

Wednesday 1 November saw the unveiling of the artwork at Gloucester Station created by artist Rider Shafique, a multi-disciplined creative from Gloucester. The exhibition centres around identity and features images of individuals from the local black community.   

This project links to the CRP’s previous collaboration with Black Ark Media on Gloucestershire’s first Black History Map. The map serves as a guide to discovering the diverse contributions of Black Britons to art, education, and culture in the local area, highlighting walking routes and active rail and sustainable travel experience radiating from Gloucestershire’s nine railway stations, leading to a series of significant Black History sites.

The new photographic exhibition was made possible by funding from Community Rail Network and the Department for Transport.

Hannah McDonnell, executive director at Gloucestershire CRP, said: “We are celebrating our railways as democratic spaces and the strong links they have to the black and brown community. This is something we want to show our commitment to as an organisation.”

Faatimah Bham, development officer at Gloucestershire CRP, said: “One of our main focuses is on ensuring that members of under-represented communities have a voice. There’s a big history of under-represented communities coming over to the UK to work around the railways – my grandfather was one of those people, and I think it’s really important to talk about these things.”

Artist Rider Shafique said: “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 due to 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 my series of photographs and quotes taken from members of Gloucestershire’s Caribbean community in and around the local railway stations.”

The exhibition is currently available to see at Gloucester, Stroud, Stonehouse and Cam & Dursley stations.

Keep up to date with future news, projects, and events from Gloucestershire CRP via their website.