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Bethnal Green’s own Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens is widely regarded as one of the greatest novelists in history. Bethnal Green however, has its own Charles Dickens, although not a writer, this Charles Dickens is still capable of writing stories.

Charles Dickens House, is a high-rise council block of flats in Bethnal Green with over 100 residents and many individual stories contained within its walls. Luar Klinghofer Bar Dov is a photographer, film-maker and ex-resident of Charles Dickens House. In this exhibition, she presents 38 photographs, 16 of which are portraits taken in the homes of residents. The portraits are also accompanied by quotes from the individuals which give further insight into their personalities.

Luar is currently studying for a Master’s Degree in Documentary Photography and Photojournalism at the University of Westminster. Although she initially started this project as a photo-book for her degree, it soon became more than that. It turned into a personal journey, as well as a community project. When Oxford House interviewed Luar to find out more, it was clear how passionate she was about the project and how successful it had been in creating a feeling of community within Charles Dickens House: “the most amazing thing about the project was how easy it was to connect with every neighbour that invited me into their home.”

The inspiration for the project came to Luar when an electrical fault happened in the building. As a result the residents were provided with complimentary breakfast and lunch for 3 days whilst the problem was being rectified. It was during this time that residents began interacting with each other, and a sense of community developed.

Luar recalls, “This planted a seed of an idea, where I decided I would like to take portraits of the residents in the block”. The project soon began and expanded from just the idea of portraits. The multi-culturalism of London can be seen in this work, as people of different faiths and cultures all helped contribute to this wonderful community project.

Private view: 16th June 6pm – 9pm

By Thufayel Ahmed
Oh! Blogger