Adopting Britain exhibition at the Southbank Centre

Featuring MMP Images and Keepsakes

Fri 17 April – Sun 6 September 2015⎪10am – 11pm daily
Royal Festival Hall⎪Spirit Level⎪Free admission
Exhibition Tours⎪18, 19, 25, 26 April & 2 May⎪1pm⎪Advanced Booking (Free)
Celebrating 70 Years of Migration (free public event)⎪Sat 2 May⎪11 – 3pm

We are delighted to be collaborating with the Southbank Centre to bring a selection of 100 Images of Migration and Keepsakes to Adopting Britain, the latest exhibition presented by the Southbank Centre in partnership with Counterpoints Arts.


Worshippers have just begun a three-hour parade, to welcome the annual Sikh festival of Vaisakhi. This is an ancient harvest festival in the Punjab region of India and commemorates the founding of the Sikh nation in 1699. It also marks the Hindu solar New Year and is observed by people of different faiths across the sub-continent. Leicester's annual Sikh Vaisakhi parade normally attracts around 30,000 worshippers from all around the UK. It has grown enormously since it started in 1986 with a gathering of less than 1,000 Sikhs. The parade begins at about 11am at the Guru Nanak Gurdwara, which is located on a street named Holy Bones, since there is a church and graveyard adjacent to the temple. The Gurdwara normally see more than 1000 worshippers a day, either paying their respect for a few minutes to offering sewa (selfless service) through cleaning, cooking, serving food, prayers and much more. Through this image and my wider body of work, I am keen to explore a community, in which individuals come together and work towards a collective goal. Leicester is a place where sophistication and tradition is continuing and being reinvented at every turn.
Adopting Britain: 70 Years of Migration launches on 17 April as part of the Southbank Centre’s Changing Britain festival. This interactive and accessible exhibition aims to highlight personal stories of migrants and refugees, celebrate the contribution of migrant groups to Britain’s artistic landscape and open up discussion around one of the most politically sensitive and pertinent topics of this year’s election.

For further details, please visit the Southbank Centre website.


When Lily was a young child in Hungary, her mother gave her this small gold pendant. In July 1944, when Lily was 14 the Nazis deported her from her town of Bonyhad with her mother, brother and three sisters. They were taken by train to Auschwitz. The small pendant went with them hidden inside the heel of her mother’s shoe. As they arrived at the camp her mother asked Lily to swap shoes with her. She never saw her again. The guards ordered valuables to be handed over but her pendant stayed in the heel of her shoe. When the shoes wore out she placed the pendant in her daily ration of bread. After about four months in Auschwitz, the sisters were transferred to an ammunition factory near Leipzig. The pendant went with them. Allied forces liberated Leipzig in 1945 and the sisters sought refuge in Switzerland. Lily tried to rebuild her life. She wore the pendant every day in memory of her murdered family. In 1967 she came to London with her husband and three children. Lily still wears the gold pendant and shares its remarkable story with all those who have time to listen. Any gold arriving in Auschwitz was stolen by the Nazis so Lily believes that her pendant is unique, the only gold to enter and leave the camp with its rightful owner. Like Lily herself, it survived against the odds.
Keepsakes is a display of personal items that keep memories of migration and identity alive. Museum collections represent society’s decisions about what objects are valuable enough to hand down to future generations. But museum objects matter less to most people than the objects their parents and grandparents chose to pass on to them, and which they hand on to their own children and grandchildren.

Join us to explore the value of personal keepsakes in sharing migration stories. Do you have a Keepsake with a migration story? Tweet us @MigrationUK #Keepsakes.

Supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.


Hendy's UK passport is 99 percent like mine. Only his says "British Overseas Citizen" and mine says "British Citizen." He was entitled to such a passport and he applied for it when he came to the UK from Malaysia. He was told it would enable him to live and work here. As it turns out this is a very peculiar passport. Now that he has it, Hendy has no rights at all to live or work in the UK. He is effectively stateless. He is a trained accountant but has to work illegally in a restaurant to make ends meet. There are hundreds like him. I took this photo as part of a documentary I have filmed about British Overseas Citizens.
100 Images of Migration is our flagship touring exhibition and is constantly moving, growing and adapting. It began life at our launch in 2011, the result of a competition we ran in the Guardian, and has since been adapted for Hackney Museum, Senate House, Leicester University, Leicester Train Station, BBC Radio East Midlands and the Heritage Gallery in Greenwich. A selection of our 100 Images form a constant thread through the 6 thematic sections of Adopting Britain.

For more information about 100 Images of Migration and to view the online gallery, please visit our Exhibitions page.

If you have an image which tells a story of migration, join our Flickr group to add it to our online gallery.

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