In the current political climate, the notion of community feels increasingly alien to many. Where the powers at be might subterfuge an attitude of ‘us’ and ‘them’, Burgess Park depicts a rich community, thriving because of its differences, not in spite of them. While the work is a portrait of one community, it, in turn, addresses something much more universal. Not only does it relay the importance of community wherever you are, but it also advocates for diversity and multiculturalism within those communities. The virtue of the park lies in the people who visit it. It is a space that facilitates the coming together of ideas, cultures, and beliefs; it allows people to feel part of something and to belong somewhere. Although quiet, the series is a subtle backlash to the increasingly polarising political rhetoric surrounding national identity – ideals which would see communities such as these changed forever.
Alongside the issue of climate change, this is undoubtedly one of the most poignant topics of our time and is something we all need to be sensitive to. Art, of all kinds, can certainly work towards raising awareness and shifting perceptions, and I would say it’s an important topic for all of us to continue focusing our energy on.