Un(Welcome) Windrush, 2020

After rewatching a documentary on BBC called The Unwanted: The Secret Windrush Files presented by David Olusoga i felt able to approach making a piece of art about this human rights violation. The Windrush Scandal and the Hostile Environment called tens of thousands of Black people’s immigration status into question, despite them living and working in the UK for decades. In 2014 legislation was created which meant Black Britons who had legally settled in the UK were made to prove they had the right to be here. From before the Empire Windrush ship had arrived on June 22nd 1948 a telegram had been sent to the UK warning them of hundreds of Jamaican men are on their way to look for work after the Second World War. Despite being commonwealth citizens, despite fighting in both world wars, they were seen as a threat to Britain because of the colour of their skin. I drew this piece to represent the hope they set off with and the dread that followed upon arrival. Despite this bad treatment, many people from the Caribbean who have settled here count Britain as their home, me included. In 2020, the children of the “commonwealth” are being gaslit about the violence Britain inflicted upon our ancestors. We are being told it wasnt that bad and its a thing of the past, but Britain is only the way it is because it enslaved people and exploited their labour as well as stealing our natural resources. Under a Conservative government, with the team work of Theresa May and the UK Border Agency, destroyed land cards and documents which could have helped many people with their case to prove their right to be here. Many people have died because of this violence, whether from stress in the UK during the process or in Jamaica where they were deported to with nothing. We want to call this our home but we have never been treated like this is home. We’re not allowed to demand justice and accountability. I’ll be printing this work on fabric and embroidering details on in the future.