A unique photographic exhibition which literally gives a voice to an ethnic community hitherto unrecognised in the UK goes on show at City Hall in London next week.
‘Uncovering the Invisible: A Portrait of Latin Americans in the UK’ is the culmination of four years of engagement with Latin Americans in London by researchers at The University of Nottingham and Anglo-Mexican photographers Pablo and Roxana Allison. The show, which has been funded from a Hermes Fellowship, runs from Monday 16 June to Thursday 3 July 2014 to coincide with the World Cup in Brazil.
Smart technology developed by the University’s Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute will allow the audience to listen to the voices and stories of the people in the portraits. The exhibition uses Near Field Communication (NFC) which allows mobile phones to access digital information embedded in smart tags.
Latin American fever
There are around 180,000 Latin Americans living in the UK today, contributing economically and culturally to British society — but up to now they have remained unrecognised officially as an ethnic minority.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “From business to restaurants, and tango to samba, London’s Latin American communities are having a significant impact on the life of our city, economically, socially and culturally. ‘Uncovering the Invisible’ offers a fascinating insight into their diversity, underpinning historic ties that saw the likes of Simon Bolívar, Francisco de Miranda and José de San Martín hone their ideas for revolution and independence here and our city's strengthening economic links with emerging economies of that vast continent.
“With the FIFA World Cup in Brazil this summer and the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2016, this exhibition is also timely. As the biggest soccer tournament in the world gets under way, I hope as many people as possible will visit City Hall to see these pictures, as part of what I am sure will be lively and colourful celebrations throughout the capital.”
Catherine Davies, Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies at The University of Nottingham, said: “We used the statistics in Professor Cathy McIlwaine’s report on Latin American migrants in London (“No Longer Invisible”) funded by the Trust for London. Pablo and Roxana have put faces to the stats, and Dr Laura Carletti from our Horizon Institute has put voices to the faces. So now we can see that each person is Latin American but also a unique individual with an interesting story to tell.”
The exhibition supports the aims of the Latin American Recognition Campaign which has been lobbying for official recognition of the community since its launch in 2010 and has succeeded in Southwark and Lambeth, where Latin American is now recognised as a specific ethnic minority.
Photographers Pablo and Roxana Allison were born in Manchester and grew up in Mexico City. Later on they returned to England where they currently live. Their photographic practice focuses on themes of cultural displacement, belonging, memory and identity.
Pablo graduated with a BA (Hons) in Documentary Photography from Newport College of Art and Design, University of Wales whilst Roxana holds a BA in Fine Art from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Their work has been exhibited in Mexico and the UK.
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