“Memories of our future” art project for Windrush 75

10 October 2023

Written by: Lambeth Council

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Kofi’s mother and daughter inspired him to paint their picture – and now he’s helping young artists paint portraits inspired by Windrush.


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“Memories of our future” art project for Windrush 75

A historically centred portrait in Lambeth Town Hall by Alvin Kofi titled “Memories of Our Future” and inspired by Windrush is an inspiration for a new generation.

“In 2022, my daughter – a second-generation Windrush child whose identity is moulded by Caribbean and British culture – went home to Antigua & Barbuda to spend time with her grandmother. Time in the Caribbean deepened her roots and understanding of the relationships between those who stayed in the Caribbean and those who took up the call to the ‘Motherland’ to rebuild war-torn Britain. Her experience moved me to paint this portrait and to inspire young creatives to explore their heritage.”

As a first-generation Afro Caribbean born in the UK, Kofi will mentor six young artists from a Lambeth school to create portraits based on their personal connections to Windrush for the project sharing his picture’s name.

Word from the Cabinet

"memories of our future" painted by Alvin Kofi (left) and Cllr Donatus Anyanwu (right)

Artist Alvin Kofi & Lambeth Cabinet Member Cllr. Donatus Anyanwu with “Memories of Our Future”

Cllr Donatus Anyanwu, Lambeth Cabinet Member for Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities, Leisure and Sport said: “This project is a way of supporting young artists and give some of the many creative people in Lambeth a way of looking into the idea of a career into art and design.”

Inspiring young artists

 “Lambeth Council invited me to create this programme to celebrate Windrush 75. ‘Memories of our Future’ challenges young artists to research their own links to the Windrush Generation. Some will paint a portrait of a grandparent, or an auntie or uncle who was a child of Windrush. Some might choose a figure from history instead of something personal.

“‘Memories of our Future’ has a double meaning. It’s about young people’s memories, a generation learning about heritage that might have seemed lost or forgotten – connecting to history and finding how history is part of their future, their sense of self.

“The project runs for six weeks from September. The teachers will put out a call for school students to submit work, and we will select six for mentoring, leading up to an exhibition in the Town Hall in October.

“I’ll be working with the participants online, guiding them through their process and covering different methods of research, use of materials, and composition. Lambeth Council is providing the artists’ materials as well as hosting the finished portraits. The students can take that work into their portfolio alongside a better understanding of their own creative process.”

More information

 Kofi has been strongly associated with the Black UK arts movement. He is one of only two black finalists in the Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year Award 2020.

Alvin Kofi’s “Memories of Our Future” portrait is on display to the public in Lambeth Town Hall.