Sheffield exhibition’s years of diversity

Marina Lewycka, pictured in the Botanical Gardens. The photo will form part of Jeremy Abrahams' Arrivals exhibition.
Marina Lewycka, pictured in the Botanical Gardens. The photo will form part of Jeremy Abrahams' Arrivals exhibition.
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A photographer is aiming to chronicle Sheffield’s history - and its diversity - by putting together a new exhibition in the city.

Jeremy Abrahams’ show Arrivals will take place at Weston Park Museum, documenting and charting the increasing diversity of Sheffield’s population.

The photographer will take pictures of one person who arrived in the city from another country in each year from 1939 to 2016. Each subject will choose whereabouts in Sheffield they would like their picture to be taken.

When complete, the project aims to be a ‘portrait of the city, the pattern of migration and 77 individuals’, Jeremy said.

More than 50 people are currently needed to finish the exhibition.

Jeremy said the show, set to open at the museum’s Harold Cantor gallery in autumn 2016, will explore immigrants’ personal histories.

“Immigration is a significant part of Sheffield’s past and present,” he said. “I wanted to humanise the issue by taking photos of immigrants and allowing them to tell their story in their own voice.”

He added: “I’ve met and photographed fascinating people from all over the world - including Jamaica, Pakistan, Italy, Zimbabwe, China, Gaza and Ukraine - but I need many more, particularly from the 1940s and 1950s. I’d love to hear from interested people and urge them to get in touch.”

Subjects photographed for the exhibition include novelist Marina Lewycka, who arrived here from the Ukraine in 1948.

Her mother lived through two World Wars, the Russian Revolution, famines, and deportation into forced labour camps in Germany.

“As I grew up, I can remember that we were treated with great kindness, and a bit of leg-pulling, by our wonderful Yorkshire neighbours, who never once made us feel unwelcome here,” she said.

The most recent immigrant photographed so far is Malaka Mohammed Shwaikh, who came to Sheffield from Gaza to study for a masters degree in global politics and law in 2013.

Jeremy, a professional photographer based in Sheffield, was made redundant from his job as education consultant with Barnsley Council in 2013. He went on to complete a foundation degree in photography at Sheffield College last year.

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