Welcome to the Second Part of our Guest Post from photographer and journalist Caroline Irby, whose interview with PaperTigers is also featured in our current issue. If you missed Part One, then head on over there straight away to take a look at her stunning photographs of some of the children from her recent book A Child from Everywhere (Black Dog Publishing (UK), in association with Oxfam, 2010) – and without further ado, here are the rest of the photographs that Caroline has kindly shared with us, along with some of the background to each one.
I’ve taken photographs for the NGO WaterAid a few times in Africa, and their head of photography in London offered to help with this project, knowing that some of their UK-based employees are from overseas. Alexander’s father, Anthony, came forward.
The Community of Malian Refugees introduced me to Oumou’s family, now living in London.
BBC World Service were a brilliant resource: their journalists come from all over the world and I spoke with people working on every different language desk there. A woman on the ‘French for Africa’ desk gave me Boubacar’s contact details.
Daniel’s father was working for a refugee organisation in Scotland, and they put me in touch with him.
I met a Cuban on the London underground; he knew no Cuban children in the UK but did have a Peruvian contact, whom I called and who invited me to a party for Peruvians near Waterloo. There were no Peruvian children at the party born in Peru, but I was given contact details there for a boy called Luis…
I joined an online chatroom for people from St Vincent and the Grenadines living overseas; Andree-Ann’s much older sister responded to my message that I was looking for a young St Vincentian in London, and suggested her younger sister…
I met Emmanuel through an organisation called Refugee Action, which provides support to refugees who have arrived in the UK direct from refugee camps, as part of the UK government’s Gateway Protection Programme.
Bola was the last child I interviewed for this project. After trying all the more obvious routes (the Swazi embassy, South Africans living in the UK, online chatrooms etc), I contacted an independent newspaper in Swaziland, hoping I might find a journalist there who’d studied in the UK and had connections in this country. There I found a man called Welcome, who gave me the number of a Swazi lady living in London.
Oxford University put me in touch with Fiona’s family: her mother is a postgraduate student here.
I met Emilia at her school, in a very multicultural area of Leeds.
The Scottish Refugee Council gave me Fernanda’s details; she was one of the first children I met with.
Thank you again, Caroline, and many congratulations on the arrival of your own baby son in August.
The exhibition of A Child from Everywhere has now closed in London but will be opening in Japan later this month: at Okazaki World Children’s Art Museum from 18th September to 28th November 2010, then at Arts Chiyoda, Tokyo, from 21st December 2010 – 23rd January 2011.