L8 Unseen, a new exhibition of photography and filmed interviews exploring the communities living in Liverpool 8, opens at the Museum of Liverpool on Friday 3 April.
An area of the city that has come to be known simply by its postcode, ‘L8’, it has often been used as shorthand for ‘riots and inner-city deprivation’. The exhibition challenges those preconceptions, revealing hidden stories from the people who live, work or have a passion for the area.
Part-funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, L8 Unseen features striking large-scale colour portraits taken by photographer Othello De’Souza-Hartley. Images of individuals and groups set in significant locations reflect the city’s history of global trade, including slavery. These portraits are 21st century representations of race, culture and identity against a foundation of 300 years of immigration and settlement.
L8 Unseen has been produced by Marc Boothe of B3 Media who has worked extensively with community groups in the area over the past few months. His team uncovered a wealth of stories dating back more than 60 years.
Kay Jones, Curator of Community History at the Museum of Liverpool, said: ““L8 Unseen reveals the extraordinary shared stories and experiences of a diverse range of people from the L8 community. Significantly, they are stories we can all relate to, be inspired by and learn from. The exhibition aims to uncover the real spirit and heritage of the area, and we want people to get involved and share their photographs and stories of L8 for a chance to feature in the exhibition. We are also keen to collect objects, photographs and stories relating to the area for the museum’s permanent collections”.
There are at least 54 nationalities living in L8. Though it’s a small area of south Liverpool, the wealth of experiences of the people living there is incredibly diverse The exhibition features young local entrepreneurs, successful businesswomen, faith leaders, international sports champions, world-leading musicians, Muslims, Jews, Orthodox Christians, Catholics, Protestants, teenagers, octogenarians, some who have never dared share their stories before but all sharing a passion for their community
Explaining the motivation to create this new exhibition Marc Boothe of B3 Media said: “Liverpool has been home to Black, Asian and Ethnic minority communities for as long as the city has been established. This offers an alternative to national stories of post war ‘Windrush’ British immigration and outside of the city is a hidden story in itself.”
The multi-media exhibition will give visitors a number of ways to access the content. A free smartphone app will play extracts from the oral history interviews as visitors view the large portraits. There will also be a continuous screening of the oral histories, complemented by archive photography and stories from the Liverpool 8 Old Photos Facebook group. Additionally, visitors will be encouraged to add their own L8 tales via a video booth.
The exhibition will run until 6 September 2015.