The 2018 OPDC Annual Art Commission, now on display in Brent Civic Centre, 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, which we have curated and produced, has culminated in the creation of two large-scale photo-tapestries depicting a staged tableau populated by the diverse group of workers. The first tapestry is 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 depicts 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 conceptually weaves together the two groups lives, stories and struggles. The work illustrates 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.
Throughout 2018, Abdu’Allah brought the group of workers together, often at his barber shop in Harlesden, to initiate local dialogue, record oral histories and explore the possibilities of societal change. To find out more about the process, read Faisal’s artist statement here.
Both tapestries are now on display at Brent Civic Centre.
Hear stories from those featured in the tapestries: