The 2018 OPDC Annual Art Commission was awarded to visual artist and barber, Faisal Abdu’Allah for “The Park Royals”, a new artwork made in collaboration with a group of twenty-two inter-generational workers from Park Royal in west London, where Abdu’Allah was born, raised and continues to work today.
The project, curated and produced by us, will culminate in the creation of two large-scale photo-tapestries depicting a staged tableau populated by the diverse group of workers. The first tapestry will be composed of a group of eleven ‘elders’; former factory workers from the post-Windrush generation who lived and worked in the area in the 1960’s-70’s. The second will depict younger workers descended from the first group and representative of the second and third generation who still live and work in the area.
Using the photo-tapestries and the intricate process of making them, Abdu’Allah will conceptually weave together the two groups lives, stories and struggles. The work will illustrate the active role the elders played in the early years of triumphing over adversity and community building in Park Royal and its surrounding areas and how a younger generation have taken up this challenge.
Over the past 12 months, Abdu’Allah has brought the group of workers together, often as it his barber shop in Harlesden, to initiate local dialogue, record oral histories and explored the possibilities of societal change.
Both tapestries will go on display in Park Royal during August 2019 before being exhibited in Brent Civic Centre on a long-term basis.