Seven years ago in August, the people of Croydon watched in fear and horror as rioters took over our streets, ransacking shops, attacking bystanders and setting fire to local businesses.
The image of Reeves Corner blazing furiously against the night sky would be used at the top of television news bulletins and on newspaper front pages around the world, after one of the lowest points of the dark days of the London riots in 2011.
A photography exhibition, Who Keeps the Peace?, by Croydon photographer Rob Wilson Jnr, opened yesterday and explores how a local community supports its members to encourage peace, even in the aftermath of such horrendous events.
Organised into four themes, the exhibition features the ordinary people of Croydon who do extraordinary things to improve the lives of others and build a better future.
Peace is caring… There are 33,000 carers in Croydon, one in eight of the total adult population. Across the community these unsung heroes care for family members, neighbours, elderly relatives, disabled children, frequently unpaid and often unacknowledged.
Peace is togetherness… Peace empowers communities to build bridges and work towards equality and shared interests to build a richer environment. Croydon’s BME Forum is the umbrella organisation for the borough’s black and ethnic minority sector, promoting equality and cohesion.
Peace is creative… Throughout the borough, the works of artists touch and inspire people, through music, artworks, performance, dance, comedy and spoken and written words. Creativity inspires peace by breaking down barriers and uniting disparate groups.
Peace is a path to the future… Peace is building for the next generation, creating a powerfully positive force through love, shared endeavour and family – whatever and whoever “family” means to you.
Wilson’s exhibition is hosted in association with the Croydon Festival of Peace. “Peace is joyful, inspiring, uplifting and fun, it’s sharing a moment and enjoying being alive,” Wilson said.
“Peace is open and embracing, kind and accepting. Peace is the contentment and freedom to find stillness in a chaotic world.”
Who Keeps the Peace? by Rob Wilson Jr runs at the Museum of Croydon, Croydon Clocktower, Katherine St, Croydon CR9 1ET, to June 30. Admission is free.
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