This is our home
'This is our home’ invites Black British creatives to riff on familiar estate agent signage and cover the signs with their own stories of home
Last updated on
May 23, 2022 14:08
Home ownership in the UK is not a level playing field. Only 20% of Black African households and 40% of Black Caribbean households in England own their home, compared to a national average of 63%.
This disparity has long-term, intergenerational effects. According to ONS data, the median property wealth held by a Black British family is £0. In contrast, the average White British family has amassed £115,000 through property and land.
Black families in the UK are also disproportionately affected by homelessness, with 1 in 23 black households becoming homeless or threatened with homelessness, versus 1 in 83 households from all other ethnicities combined - according to data from the charity Shelter.
The stories and memories created in Black British family homes are an act of joyful protest against the inequity of home-ownership in the UK.
We want to share stories that inspire joy and encourage people to claim their space, inviting Black British creatives to share their memories, while also drawing attention to the housing inequality experienced by Black people in the UK.
In collaboration with strategist Ayo Fagbemi and his team of talented creatives, we’ll invite artists to riff on familiar estate agent signage, covering the signs with their story in order to make a statement about home ownership and the power of claiming space. The signs will be installed and photographed outside the home which inspired the piece, with a different artist creating a sign each month for a year, in a series we’re calling ‘This Is Our Home’. Although this idea was sparked during Black History Month, the inequality it highlights is evergreen - so we didn’t want the project to come to an end on 1 November.
Chinaza Agbor has an unconventional artistic background - she studied Biology as an undergraduate before deciding that she wanted to make art full-time. She believes art and protest are "intrinsically linked" and that speaking up is an artist's role in society, so we knew she'd be perfect for this project.
Chinaza also has an unconventional approach to finding home. She dreams of exploring and living in different places all over the world, and can feel at peace and at home wherever she is - her piece encapsulates that:
"As a person who has always enjoyed to travel; I know the importance of being at peace with wherever I decide to settle. I’m a nomad at heart and I know that as long as I have the person I love and the things that bring me joy, I can call any place my home."
You can read our full interview with Chinaza here.
And check out more of Chinaza's work here.
Hamed Maiye is a multi-disciplinary artist who grew up between West London and Brixton. He still lives and works in London.
Hamed is fascinated by the relationship between memory and imagination, and his work constantly questions how reliable our memories really are. We knew he'd bring a new perspective to this project, which encourages Black British creatives to share their memories of home, and his piece, 'Arrested Development', which shows a young Hamed viewed from an adult perspective, did not disappoint.
"It's a self-portrait, but it's a forged self-portrait. I'm rewriting memories in this piece, and I made it as a way to reconcile the different elements of myself."
Hamed's piece was on display outside the flat he grew up in - and where he still lives now - in Brixton.
We dug deeper into his thoughts on home ownership, childhood, and the everyday decisions you can make to support your local community - read here.
You can check out more of Hamed's incredible work here.
Olivia Twist is an illustrator and lecturer, based in East London. Her work is interested in the past and present reality of her local area, and she often draws people just living and enjoying their lives. Her interest in community perfectly complements our own, so we were delighted when she decided to collaborate on this project.
Her piece, called 'Go for it', is all about the communal aspect of home - there's an abundance of food and everyone comes together to eat it.
"I wanted to celebrate the communal aspect of our home. Everything is for everyone. There is always more than enough. There are different cheeses, the tea cupboard is always full and there’s always cake and custard. It's these small things that really make us feel grounded. Cooking for us is a gesture of love and eating together as a house is a bonding experience we don't take for granted."
Olivia's piece is displayed outside her shared house in East London.
We sat down with Olivia for an interview which covered everything from about food, art, and protest, to befriending your neighbours and her dream dinner guests - read here.
You can (and should) see more of Olivia's work on her website.
The first piece in the series was created by illustrator and printmaker Yolande Mutale. Yolande is an illustrator and printmaker from Brighton, now based in London. We were instantly drawn to her bold style and the way she used her art to send a message. When we invited her to take part in this project, she instantly thought of the way her dad used food to create a sense of love and belonging.
Her piece is called “Five Sticks of Corn on the Cob and a Hug” and it's inspired by happy memories of the buttery corn on the cob that her dad would cook for her family as a weekend treat.
"My dad moved to the UK from Zimbabwe when he was 19, so, unfortunately, lost some traditions over the years. However, food was not one of them. The smells and the sounds that filled the house when he was cooking always transported you to Zimbabwe."
Yolande’s sign was displayed outside the house she grew up in, on Hanover Street in Brighton.
We dug a little deeper into Yolande’s story and creative process - read here.
And you can see more of Yolande’s brilliant work here.
We’re determined to keep this conversation going and look forward to sharing a new story every month - watch this space.
To take part in the ‘This is our home’ project, artists can get in touch with the Habito team at [email protected]
If you’re not an artist, but you’d still like to share your thoughts or your experience of home ownership as a Black person in the UK, we’d love to hear from you too. Drop us a line on [email protected].
Creative Direction - Ayo Fagbemi
Art Direction - Jazleen Senshi (JLEAN)
Photographer - Malini Vaja
Additional Photography - Jazleen Senshi (JLEAN)
Production - Freaq.Rehab
PA - Nathaniel Oliver
We sat down with artist Olivia Twist and chatted about everything from food, art, and protest, to befriending your neighbours and her dream dinner guests.
We worked with artist Hamed Maiye on part 3 of our 'This Is Our Home' project. He let us pick his brain about childhood memories, getting on the property ladder, and why Brixton always feels like home.
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