Photographs of Brent thirty years ago go on display

An image from Revival

St Patrick's Day 1990 from Revival at Willesden Green Library - Credit: Roy Mehta

A photographic exhibition of Harlesden and Willesden three decades ago is on show at Willesden Green Library.

Revival takes over the second floor exhibition space to showcase images taken by Roy Mehta on the streets of Brent between 1989-1993.

An image from Revival at Willesden Library

An image from Revival at Willesden Library - Credit: Roy Mehta

They portray the borough's rich diversity of culture, faith and heritage including the Irish and Afro-Caribbean communities. Two boys clutching their bags of sweets, a busy barber's shop, a church congregation, a priest at prayer, and dancers joyfully taking to the floor, are among the many subjects.

Curated by writer and gallery owner Laura Noble, the documentary photographs of individuals, groups, parks, shops and buildings were recently discovered and many have never been seen before in public.

An image from Revival

An image from Revival at Willesden Library - Credit: Roy Mehta

Following appeals, including an article in the Brent and Kilburn Times, Mehta has reconnected with some of the original subjects to re-shoot them 30 years on, and carry out interviews for a short film about the sitters and their lives, which is part of the exhibition.

An artist and educator for more than 30 years, Mehta's work is concerned with ideas around cultural identity and belonging - inspired by his own upbringing by parents who emigrated from India and settled in Wembley in the 1960s. The 53-year-old, who attended Mount Stewart Primary School, got a grant to develop and showcase his collection as part of Brent Borough of Culture 2020.

An image from Revival

Men walking away from All Souls Church Acton Lane Harlesden in an image from Revival - Credit: Roy Mehta

Many of the images were published in a photobook by Hoxton Mini Press in January 2021. Revival runs until May 29 and is supported by Brent's 2020 Culture Fund. https://www.brent.gov.uk/libraries-arts-and-heritage/brent-museum-and-archives/whats-on

An image from Revival by Roy Mehta

An church service in Harlesden around 1990 from Revival at Willesden Green Library - Credit: Roy Mehta