Exhibition 30 years in the making shows London behind the scenes

An exhibition of photos from behind the scenes of London life, which took 30 years to create, has gone on show in one of the locations.

Canada Water Underground station is hosting the photo-documentary exhibition ‘Chandra’s London’ featuring police officers, Underground staff and farmers.

The show was painstakingly developed by photographer and writer Nick Sidle over a period of 30 years, offering a unique and intimate view of London. His aim was to celebrate a common humanity and the need to challenge intolerance, in whatever form it takes.

He was granted special, behind the scenes access across the city and combines landscape with reportage style, street photography of the people from many different cultures who live and work there.

Nick hopes that with its message of empathy towards people regardless of their background, nationality, race, culture or faith, this is a timely project and event.

The section of the story in the panels at the station features British Transport Police, the staff and volunteers of Surrey Docks Farm and the Latin American community resident in the area as well as the staff of the station itself.

A reception at Canada Water Theatre & Library, which is also partnering this project, launched the exhibition, and included additional photographs from the photostories.

Several of the people and even some of the Surrey Docks animals pictured in the photos were present helping to bring the story to life.

‘Chandra’s London’ has grown over the years to become a substantial exhibition and has been presented in many varied locations across the UK and Europe, including the South Bank’s Royal Festival Hall, City Hall, New Scotland Yard, the House of Commons and other prestige settings.

None of the images are staged or posed but represent a ‘moment in time’. The Canada Water installation is the final one in a series of that have gone up across London, funded by TfL and DLR, stretching from Hammersmith in the west to Cutty Sark Station in the east.

The show is being staged by community group Heartstone with Transport for London, the Metropolitan Police, British Transport Police and communities, including Surrey Docks Farm.

The exhibition takes its name from the heroine of the ‘The Heartstone Odyssey’, a trilogy of books and the inspiration for ‘Chandra’s London’ which features the real-life locations in the books.

Mayor of Southwark, Cllr Charlie Smith said: “This exciting new installation was born from an idea when this project visited the House of Commons. I am pleased to be able to be here for this launch and to see the work between TfL and Chandra’s London.

By placing the art work in the station it brings the vibrancy of the borough into the heart of this community.”

Sitakumari, Director of Heartstone, says: “Chandra’s London’ is a new way to view London and its people, a new window on a familiar world, and as such complements ‘The Heartstone Odyssey’ perfectly, bringing people together through the visual image to celebrate what unites us as the human race.”

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