03 Nov Expectations Exhibition, Black Cultural Archives, Brixton
Brixton is supposedly a cultural hub of London, how things have changed. What is Brixton famous for? It was the birthplace of David Bowie, it was home to a strong African and Caribbean community following since the second World War. Its been gentrified within an inch of its life. I won’t impart the things we East Londoners used to say of South Londoners but the moment a place gets named a ‘village’ you can bet the former residents have been pushed out to make when for trendy hipster spots, house prices sky-rocket then next things you know curried goat and rice n peas suddenly costs £11.00.
Excuse the mini rant, its actually been a while since I had crossed the river and I instantly noticed that the area seemed cleaner albeit it had all the usual shops that you can find on literally every unimaginative high street in the U.K. The space outside the tube station remains a place of high foot traffic, the bus stops are packed with a throng of people. But there is something missing, where are the characters? The music and the sounds. Brixton has been sanitized at this rate if I were to go into the market to be sold a patty by a non-Caribbean person might make me tearful.
On my way to the BCA, I noted that the Ritzy had recently had a coat of paint either that or its been well maintained. The BCA had been on my list of places to see for a long time. It was founded in 1981 by educationalist Len Garrison and offers an insight into history of Blacks in Britain. I went to see the Expectations Exhibition (Neil Kenlock) which featured the likes of Olive Morris, Leila Hassan, Barbara Bees, Courtney Laws, Bishop Woods and David Udo. I will admit being a little disappointed as the exhibition was small and spaced out throughout the site some in rooms including the cafe and some in nooks and crannies. More explanation was not offered on The Mangrove Nine who are important in Black British History.