Roots of Love: Documenting the Caribbean Community in The UK

Hasna Tayyar is a photographer from the UK who is currently working on a project documenting the Caribbean community in the UK. We sat down with them to find out a bit more.

Hi Hasna, thanks so much for speaking with us. In your own words, what is the ‘Roots of Love’ project?

Roots of Love is my photo series that explores the Caribbean community in the UK. The project aims to capture portraits of British people of all different ages that originate from islands across the Caribbean.

Why did you decide to start Roots of Love?

The inspiration behind this project comes from my own identity and being raised in a Jamaican household. As I learnt more about my background, I began to also learn about the influence and impact that other Caribbean islands had on the UK too. I started this project because I wanted to highlight that the UK is full of so many people that come from some of the smaller islands in the Caribbean that don’t get as much recognition.

Have you learnt anything about the UK-Caribbean community that you didn’t before starting Roots of Love?

I’ve learnt so much about the Caribbean in general through this project. There are so many islands that I didn’t even know existed, such as Montserrat, Aruba and Martinique to name a few. It’s been interesting to learn about these places and see the differences and similarities that they have with my own island.

An image Hasna has taken as part of the project,

In what ways is this project different to others you have undertaken in the past?

Well, I am always working on projects that are personal to me or are inspired by my own identity, however I would say that the thing that makes this project so different is the scale of it. There is no real end goal for this project, and it is probably something that I will continue to work on for the majority of my life. I am calling out for anybody that is British and Caribbean whether you live in London or Glasgow whether you’re 22 or 82, whether you’re Muslim or Christian. I want this project to be diverse and I want this project to be huge. I want it to be a massive collection of portraits that can be able to be used in the future as a research source for British history. I want to essentially shoot as much of the British Caribbean community as possible. It’s more than just a project to me, it’s documenting history.

What do you hope to show people through Roots of Love?

I hope that this project shows people outside of the Caribbean community how big our community is within the UK. The influence of the Windrush generation is absolutely massive and they played a huge part in developing the UK. I hope that when people see my images from Roots of Love, they think of how how far back our history in this country goes. Especially as a lot of people don’t know that it wasn’t just Jamaicans that came over on the Windrush, it was also people from Bermuda, British Guiana, Trinidad and so many other Caribbean islands too. And to anybody that IS a part of the Caribbean community and comes across this project, I hope it feels them with a sense of pride to see how strong our community is. I also hope for their to be a feeling of unity between islands as we are all one people!

If anyone wants to get involved with Roots of Love, how can they do so?

I am always looking for new people to be a part of this project! Anybody that is British and Caribbean and is interested in being involved is more than welcome to contact me through email or Instagram – / @hasnactayyar

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