Jacqui Cooke, Evidence of those not seen
4 Oct – 20 Dec 2023
Free and open to all
SPACE Ilford

Please note: the gallery will be closed on Wed 13 December

This exhibition highlights the contribution of individuals of African Descent and First Nation pre-1948 who supported Britain in World War I and II.

The arrival of individuals from the Commonwealth changed the demographics of Britain. From 1948 onwards, those who made the journey to British shores were labelled the ‘Windrush Generation’. A wealth of cultural traditions were introduced and infused into the fabric of British society. Various genres of music, religion, fashion, food, sporting prowess, colour, expertise and dance have all contributed to shape British culture.

However, the connection or loyalty to Britain didn’t start there. The call from Britain asking for support from countries within the British Empire was made when war was declared and many individuals from Commonwealth countries volunteered to serve Britain during both World Wars.

Some were recognised for their service and were awarded medals of the highest order, while others, despite facing adversity from those they served, exceeded expectations to become Officers. Following the war, many chose to return to Britain and help rebuild the country they called ‘The Mother Land’.

Jacqui Cooke is a self-taught London-based portrait and figurative artist, who works primarily in oils. Cooke’s techniques have developed through on-going self-study and recently an advanced figurative and portraiture course at City Lit, London. Born in Britain of Jamaican heritage, depicting the achievements of individuals from the African diaspora, those both celebrated and omitted from the canvas of British history, has underpinned the subjects in her artworks.

In 2018, Cooke held her first solo exhibition, Who I Am, in Stratford, London, in collaboration with the London Borough of Newham, celebrating 70 years since the arrival of the Windrush Generation. Cooke was also honoured to be included among a select group of artists invited to exhibit at the Inaugural C’Art exhibition in Mandeville, Jamaica in February 2020, and BAND Gallery, Canada in March 2022.

2023: London Lighthouse Gallery, London
2023: IWD, Lyric Theatre Hammersmith, London
2022: Reshaping the Figure, City Lit – Holborn, London
2022: BAND Gallery – Toronto, Canada
2020: Playing the Race Card – Online Exhibition
2020: Inaugural C’Art – Mandeville, Jamaica
2019: Heroes and Heroines – Deptford, London
2018: Heroes and Heroines – Lewisham, London
2018: The Windrush Generation – Stratford, London
2018: Who I Am – Stratford, London.

Instagram: @jacooke_art