In 2021 I met an inspiring geographer named Dr. Sharda Rozena. She was a visiting academic at the University of British Columbia and her doctoral studies focused on housing displacement and gentrification in the UK. Becoming friends, we hatched a plan to collaborate together in order to illuminate her important research through portraiture.
These portraits are the subjects of her research, many of whom I met, photographed and interviewed in London for this project. I had never been to London and while I greatly enjoyed the city, I was heartbroken to learn how gentrification has, and continues to gravely affect the lives of so many. In London I attended a theatrical performance that revealed the negligence which caused the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire, where seventy-two people died and many more were displaced. In no uncertain terms it reinforced the importance of Dr. Rozena’s research.
The Real Faces of the Royal Borough had three solo exhibits in 2023, and we continue to work together to expand the reach of the project. The portraits along with Sharda’s research continue to provide context for community engagement, encouraging the awareness of much needed change: http://FacesOfTheRoyalBorough.com