Exhibition capturing diversity of Hammersmith and Fulham returns after pandemic

Left to right, Kate Walter (curator), Gaia Bini (ex-social media), Savraj Kaur (Producer), Nahwand (photographer) via H&F Giving
25 February 2022

A touring exhibition celebrating the diversity of Hammersmith and Fulham has opened in Fulham Palace post-pandemic.

The creative project was launched by Savraj Kaur, 38, executive director of Hammersmith and Fulham Giving, in collaboration with London-based photographer Nahwand Jaff, 32.

Named “Humans of Hammersmith and Fulham” and inspired by the popular series “Humans of New York”, it first launched in Lyric Theatre Hammersmith in January 2020.

Kaur said: “I’ve come across so many incredible characters in my day to day interactions.

“We don’t normally work with creative projects but it’s been a nice way to bring art to the community. Some people featured in the exhibition have never been to an art gallery before.

“We live in a really diverse borough with some of the most expensive homes in the country while 30% of children are born into child poverty. But we all share the same space.”

Now returning bigger than ever, the free exhibition displays portraits and accompanying interviews of over 50 residents in the borough.

Photo of caucasian woman, profile of shoulders and face wearing a green fleece. The fleece has words reading "hammersmith and fulham foodbank"
REAL PEOPLE WITH REAL ISSUES: Daphine Aitkens advocates for foodbank users. Credit: Nahwand Jaff and H&F Giving

The interviews aim to give an insight into the lives and experiences of various local people from community initiative leaders to ordinary residents.

One participant, Daphine Aitkens, ex-CEO of Hammersmith and Fulham Foodbank said: “Foodbank clients are not scroungers, but real people with real issues which can be solved.”

Speaking about the people she has encountered in her job, Aitkens added: “One was a mum who turned to prostitution to feed her child. When she came to us she didn’t need to prostitute herself anymore, she was able to cover her debts, got therapy, some parenting support with her gorgeous child.”

Photo of caucasian woman sitting in office with a sign behind her reading "Hammersmith and Fulham Law Centre." She is wearing a dark top.
CHANGING LIVES: ex-CEO of H&F Law Centre Sue James fights for justice in the community. Credit: Nahwand Jaff and H&F Giving

Before becoming a photographer, Jaff spent five years working as a delivery driver for the Waitrose on North End Road and got to know the area.

Jaff then began working on the project in 2019 and said: “It was very sporadic, Savraj would ask me to come down and take portraits while she interviewed.

He added: “It would be nice to continue profiling as many people as we can since so many people are doing such good work.

“I remember there was someone whose family had been in the area for over 100 years and as a diaspora the idea of being in one place for generations is so strange. It’s very beautiful.”

As the exhibition continues to tour, Kaur explained: “We’re calling it a living exhibition and long after I’ve gone it would be nice if we added faces and stories.”

The Humans of Hammersmith & Fulham exhibition is open daily from 10.30am to 4pm at Fulham Palace in Bishop’s Avenue until 10 March and will later continue to tour the borough.