REBELLION TO ROMANCE | Susan Pitter for Jamaica Society Leeds
In 2022, Jamaica Society Leeds staged the Rebellion to Romance exhibition as part of the Out of Many Festival marking 60 years of Jamaican independence.
A community call out resulted in a glorious collection of photos, keepsakes and interviews - the basis for the stunning exhibition at Leeds Central Library and stage production at Leeds Playhouse. Together they explored the lives of second-generation West Indians in 1970s and 80s Leeds and the impact of Jamaican culture and the moment and movements that shaped them - from roots reggae to lovers rock, cultural awakening to protest, style and fashion to community resilience. 'That was then' photos sat alongside 'this is now' portraits taken in an iconic green space by acclaimed 'godfather of black British photography' Vanley Burke.
Rebellion to Romance captures the powerful images that told the story of a generation who can firmly say, “We are black, we are British, we are West Indian – and we are Leeds.”