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Reggae Warriors and Olive Senior visit Rebellion to Romance exhibition

Festival Director Susan Pitter with some of the Jamaica National Rugby League Team

The Jamaica Society Leeds is delighted to have welcomed members of the Jamaica National Rugby Team to its Rebellion to Romance exhibition at Leeds Central Library.

The Reggae Warriors are in England for the Rugby League World Cup, and were shown around the exhibition by Festival Director Susan Pitter.

Susan explained how the Rebellion to Romance exhibition, which runs until October 28, was painstakingly curated following consultations with the Jamaican and West Indian communities in Leeds.

The exhibition captures the stories of second-generation Jamaicans who came of age in the 70s and 80s, with photographs from that era alongside contemporary pictures taken by Vanley Burke. Vanley is regarded as the Godfather of Black British Photography and has been recording and curating the Black British experience for decades.The exhibition also features clothing of the time and mementos such as posters and other keepsakes.

“It was a pleasure to welcome the Reggae Warriors to the Rebellion to Romance exhibition and both see and hear their interest in the lives and achievements of those who grew up in the 70s and 80s,” said Susan.

“It is a privilege to be able to tell and curate our stories in a way which says we are Black, British, West Indian and Leeds and pass this on through the generations.”

The team was presented with a copy of Eulogy, edited by Susan Pitter for the Jamaica Society Leeds, which looks at the lives of first-generation Jamaicans and West Indians in Leeds.

The Reggae Warriors visit came hot on the heels of geography students from Leeds Beckett university, who were taken around the exhibition as part of their studies.

The previous week saw Olive Senior, the Poet Laureate of Jamaica, and Royane Green, Director of Special Programmes at the National Library of Jamaica attend the exhibition and have a tour of Leeds Central Library.

Festival Director Susan Pitter shows Olive Senior, the Poet Laureate of Jamaica round Rebellion to Romance

They also met the Mayor of Leeds, Cllr Bob Gettings, which was facilitated by the Jamaica Society Leeds.

“Leeds is such a wonderful place to live and work not just for the diversity, but for the scenery, the architecture and the arts,” he said.

“What has had the most striking impact on me is going to all the different communities and seeing the cohesion and joy in the city.”

Royane Green, Olive Senior and Susan Pitter

Rebellion to Romance: the exhibition runs until October 29 and is at Room 700, Leeds Central Library, Leeds, LS1 3AB.

Lady Mayoress Cllr Lesley Gettings, the Poet Laureate of Jamaica Olive Senior and Lord Mayor Cllr Bob Gettings