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Islington Faces exhibition: Everyone has a story at museum

Islington Museum hosts Islington Faces exhibition

23 April, 2019 — By Emily Finch

Nicola Baird and photographer Kimi Gill join forces for exhibition

EVERYONE has a story, according to journalist Nicola Baird, who has collected the life stories of 300 people who live and work in the borough on her blog.

Now, through a collaboration with photographer Kimi Gill and the Isling- ton Museum in Finsbury, a few of the stories have been transformed into a photography exhibition which showcases the very best the borough has to offer under the theme “Inspiring Islington”.

There’s Yemi Hailemariam, the mother who campaigned tirelessly for her activist partner to be freed from an Ethiopian jail; Patrick Lawson, known as London’s happiest bus driver, who was previously homeless for 20 years; and paddleboard instructor Rosie Marwick, who is usually found on the Regent’s Canal.

Ms Baird, from Finsbury Park, started her Islington Faces online blog seven years ago after interviewing pigeon racer Ron Pace, who spoke to her about his childhood selling fruit and veg on his horse and cart through the streets of Islington.
“He started everything. I thought, oh this is a great story, but I couldn’t sell it. I decided that I wanted to find out more stories like this,” she said.

She met photographer Ms Gill two years ago when the communications worker for the animal welfare charity World Animal Protection was house- sitting in Highbury.

“I was so pleased because my photos for the blog weren’t very good,” she said.

Ms Baird could be one of the people interviewed on her blog herself as the editor of Pavement magazine which is a monthly magazine for homeless people.

Yemi Hailemariam and her daughter who feature in the exhibition 

The palm-sized paper is given out free in various locations in the capital including in bookshops and in shelters. It offers inspiring articles and tips such as where to find the best free showers.

One of the questions she often asks those she interviews for her blog is what are their favourite things to do in the borough.
When asked the same question by the Tribune, Ms Baird diplomatically answers the “Islington Museum”, which is currently hosting her exhibition. But she also adds that she “loves” Highbury Fields and Blackstock Kitchen, near her home.

Photographer Ms Gill, whose photos have been blown up to A1 size for the show, said she was “very pleased” to see her them in such a large format. She said: “It’s really nice to see all the photos work together.

The colour and tones seem to have come together so well.”
Chief curator Roz Currie, from the Islington Museum, said the pictures were “so beautiful”, adding: “People are drawn to the exhibition because of the photos and people want to know more about the people. The quotes below the photo and the autobio- graphical detail really bring the people alive.”

The exhibition, in 245 St John Street, runs until June 3 and is open from 10am-5pm Monday to Saturday (closed Wednesday and Sunday). There is a series of events planned including walks,
drop-in sessions and canal tours.

To find out more visit https://www.islingtonfaces blog.com/events/

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