Photographic exhibition tackles Irish emigration on both sides of the water

Photographic exhibition tackles Irish emigration on both sides of the water

AN IRISH photographer is currently creating two simultaneous exhibitions of her work documenting the experience of emigration between Britain and Ireland. 

Through a series of photographs Marcella Reardon will trace the lives of her family as they returned from Acton Town in London to their native Co. Cork in the early 1970s.

Her images feature rediscovered objects that the family took back to Ireland, which she describes as a “powerful evocation of this time".

While exhibition venues have yet to be confirmed, the 55-year-old claims the displays will be showcased in both Cork and London in September 2016 - with the family’s former West London hometown being the preferred location in England.

“The photographs capture an arrested moment between two places, a family in flux,” she explains.

“The objects, in their bright colours, are emblems expressing hope, optimism and change," she adds, "but they also reflect the fragility and uncertainty of all people who have had to emigrate.”

Reardon visited Acton last November for the first showing of her work at the W.3 Gallery, which included two photographs and a piece on her recollection of growing up in the area.

Her parents moved to London in the 1950s, where she was raised in a high-rise block of council flats.

The family lived amongst a community of Irish, Polish and Caribbean emigrants, which the photographer recalls as "a positive experience".

At the time their home in the Charles Hocking House estate offered welcomed facilities - including central heating and hot water - but eventually the surrounding area deteriorated and the family left for Ireland.

Whilst her father stayed in London to work, Reardon's mother had to adapt back to life in Cork raising three young children.

Reardon recalls: “As children we found that, while in Acton, we were the Irish, now in Cork, we were the English. We were caught in the middle of two worlds.”

Take a look below at some of the images that will feature in Marcella Reardon's exhibition. She describes the significance of the items pictured...