The images on this website are taken from the ongoing series ’From a Small Island’. It is a work that explores the journey into ageing of a couple who left their homes in Jamaica for the ‘Motherland’ and who never left.
Popular belief suggests that the arrival of the SS Empire Windrush inspired an immediate flood of Caribbean immigrants. In fact, the travellers who arrived on the SS Windrush, and those who followed them until the middle of the 1950s, only amounted to a trickle. But several factors intensified Caribbean migration in the seven years between 1955 and 1962. The McCarran-Walter Act, passed by the American government in June 1952, limited the numbers of Caribbean migrants allowed into the United States. During the ten years which followed, the prospect of colonial independence, along with the growing threat of immigration legislation in Britain made the situation more urgent - prospective immigrants had to leave the Caribbean immediately or not at all.
The statistics of annual arrivals tell the story: in 1955, migrants coming from the Caribbean to Britain numbered 27,550. By 1960, the numbers of Caribbean migrating to Britain had risen to 49,650; and the rate had increased to 66,300 during the following year. By the time the Commonwealth Immigrants Act was passed in 1962, limiting immigrant entry, the number of arrivals had decreased to 31,800. After this, Caribbean arrivals numbered only 3,241 in 1963, peaked at 14,848 in 1965 and began falling rapidly to less than 10,000 in the average year.
This is a work about those who came, stayed and never left.