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The History of Black London Showcased in New Exhibition

Armet Francis, ‘Fashion Shoot’, Brixton Market, London, 1973
Armet Francis, ‘Fashion Shoot’, Brixton Market, London, 1973 | Courtesy Autograph. Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund
Rarely seen photographs from the archive of Autograph – an East London arts charity exploring questions of cultural identity, human rights and social justice – will be shown at a new exhibition to tie in with the release of Idris Elba’s directorial debut, Yardie.
Colin Jones, Untitled, from the series The Black House, 1973-1976 Courtesy Autograph

Back in the Day: The Autograph Archive x Yardie is a free exhibition at Hackney Picturehouse, East London, and will be open to the public from 18 August, coinciding with the release of Idris Elba’s directorial debut.

The film is set in the 1970s and ’80s, and tells the story of a young man (Aml Ameen) from Kingston, Jamaica, who comes to London and reconnects with his childhood sweetheart. The film shows the struggles faced by first-generation immigrants to the UK, but also has a positive message about the impact the new arrivals had on culture across the country. Music plays a central theme in the movie, which is referenced in a number of the photographs in the exhibition.

Dennis Morris, Count Shelley Sounds, Hackney, London 1971 Courtesy Autograph. Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund
Armet Francis, Carnival Sound System, London. n.d. Courtesy Autograph. Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund

The display features 25 photographs from Autograph, an organisation set up in 1988 “to use photography to explore questions of cultural identity, race, representation, human rights and social justice”. The photographers come from diverse backgrounds with a common message of documenting black communities across London from the turbulent political landscape of the 1970s and ’80s.

Charlie Phillips, Westbourne Park Tube Station, London 1967 Courtesy Autograph. Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund

Elba has made headlines as the favourite to take over the role of James Bond, once actor Daniel Craig hands in his licence to kill after his fifth outing as 007. Producers on the long-running series have stated that it is time for a “non-white” Bond.

Colin Jones, Untitled, from the series The Black House, 1973-1976 Courtesy Autograph

Yardie will be in cinemas from 31 August 2018. Special nationwide preview screenings, including a live satellite Q&A with Idris Elba, will take place on 23 August. See www.yardiefilm.co.uk/previewevent for details.

Colin Jones, Untitled, from the series The Black House, 1973-1976 Courtesy Autograph

Hackney Picturehouse

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Hackney Picturehouse
Hackney Picturehouse | © Ewan Munro / WikiCommons
In the heart of bustling Hackney, the Picturehouse cinema maintains the original exterior of music venue the Hackney Ocean, but has gone for a serious makeover inside. The cinema, which boasts luxury seating across all six screens and high-end food in the restaurant, was part of the local regeneration scheme for the London 2012 Olympics. Expect to see some celebrities also frequent this cinema, as well as the occasion glitzy red-carpet event.
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Back in the Day is a free exhibition running from 18 August-2 September 2018.