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.

Tim is currently sharing his photographs with people and communities across Leeds, using them as a catalyst to explore local people’s experiences of life in Leeds and the Caribbean. Some of the stories collected will then be used as part of the summer exhibition.

If you would like to share your stories with Tim, or would like more information, please email him at timsmithphotos@btinternet.com.

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

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.