Discover the Caribbean’s rich history and its strong connection to Leeds with Island to Island – Journeys through the Caribbean photography exhibition at Room 700, Leeds Central Library.

Over the past decade, photographer Tim Smith has travelled back to his childhood home of Barbados, as well as many other places in the Caribbean with close connections to Britain. His photographs from these trips are displayed in the exhibition, Island to Island, a celebration of everyday life, landscapes and light of the English-speaking Caribbean.

Tim’s photos are shown alongside his father Derek’s pictures of life in the Caribbean during the 1950s and 60s, as well as film, personal narratives and poetry from Khadijah Ibrahiim and material drawn from Leeds Central Library’s collection by Heritage Corner.

The Caribbean’s multicultural history has shaped a unique set of regional identities, as well as giving birth to Caribbean festivals, music and masquerade. Tim said:

I wanted to produce an exhibition which moves beyond the popular stereotypes of ‘Paradise Islands’. I set out to create photographs which explore the region’s past and show how this history has shaped the Caribbean of today, which embraces an extraordinary fusion of peoples and cultures drawn from the Americas, Africa, Europe and Asia, but is totally Caribbean. As you travel through the region you discover how this heritage varies from island to island, which gives each nation its own distinctive character.

Come along to Room 700 from 27th June to 27th July and see if you can recognise people and places you know, on the streets of Leeds or perhaps the Caribbean itself. Entry is free.

On Wednesday 11th July, there will be a live music and dance performance at the exhibition. Explore the West African connections to carnival through a live performance of traditional Ghanaian dance, followed by a Q&A discussion with choreographer Nii Kwartey Owoo and photographer Tim Smith. 5.30-7pm, book your FREE ticket here.

This project is supported by the Geraldine Conner Foundation with funding from Leeds Inspired, part of Leeds City Council.

Room 700 Opening Times

Monday – 9am to 7pm
Tuesday – 9am to 7pm
Wednesday – 9am to 7pm
Thursday – 9am to 6pm
Friday – 9am to 5pm
Saturday – 10am to 5pm
Sunday – CLOSED

Access to Room 700 will not be possible on the following days/times due to events taking place in the gallery.
Saturday 30th June – all day (Mesh Dance)
Sunday 1st July – all day (Mesh Dance)
Wednesday 4th July – 12pm to 4.30pm (Collections in Verse)
Saturday 7th July – all day  (public can enter the space but it is usually very busy)
Tuesday 10th – 1pm to 5pm (Arts and Minds session)
Wednesday 11th July – 5pm to 7pm (West African Connections to Carnival)
Saturday 14th July – 11am to 3pm (LGBT event)
Sunday 15th July – 12.30pm to 2.45pm (LGBT event)
Monday 16th July – 9am to 5pm (Arts Council)
Tuesday 17th July – 3pm to 5pm (Compass Festival)
Wednesday 18th July – 1pm to 5pm (Arts and Minds)
Island Life, Tim Smith
The Renegades Steel Orchestra on the road as part of the 1967 Trinidad Carnival. Photo by Derek Smith.
A group of girls eating candyfloss making their way to the Junior Calypso Competition held in Newtown as part of Dominca's annual carnival.
Blue Devils at the Grenada Carnival held each year in the island's capital of St George's.
Photographer, Tim Smith.