Sunday, 31 July 2011

A brighter side of Burnt Oak

I went to Burnt Oak library on Friday to see the exhibition of photographs by local young people. (Article in the Times series on how the project came about.)

Burnt Oak library shares its building with various council services, DWP and Inland Revenue these days. The security guard (yes, we need one of those when accessing public services) showed me where all the photographs were, hung on the walls among people talking about benefits claims, tax rebates, etc.

The photographs are good. The young people (or the person who curated the exhibition) had tried to show the brighter side of Burnt Oak. One big picture of the fabric of the area could not disguise a gaping pot hole in the path of an oncoming bus, but most of the pictures showed colourful shop signs and displays of food for sale in the market: fruit, vegetables, fish. It was an interesting choice of subjects which says a lot about Burnt Oak.

The faces of the people who live here, many of them coming from overseas, are the brightest sight to see, and it is important as a place to buy food, clothes and home furnishings. I'm going to seek permission to reproduce some of the pictures.

The exhibition is a testament to the work of the young people and their determination to see beauty in unlikely places and I urge people to go and see it. Alas, I'm not sure that the youth service that organised the exhibition is even open anymore.

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