Gowri Savoor reflects on the warm and evolving community of her childhood in Britain and shares original art that commemorates her cherished memories.
I had a fortunate childhood; living in the multicultural Britain of the 70’s, in the ethnically-diverse suburbs of Leicester, in the green and leafy village of Oadby, on a street where everyone knew my name. It’s when I think back to these days, that I think of the importance of community.
I lived in a time when there were cups of sugar to be borrowed, gossip to be shared, kids to play out with, and neighbors to call on in a crisis. There were Jubilee street parties, New Year’s Eve parties, Avon, Tupperware and whatever-the-occasion parties; children were relegated to the black-and-white box in the bedroom, while adults laughed loudly below. There were Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Jews and Atheists. No-one asked who you voted for, and no-one discussed their pay-packet.
We were groups of strangers, living harmoniously side-by-side, giving and taking, sharing and supporting. Couples divorced, people died, and families drifted; others came, and we held each other to account. Oftentimes it was messy, and imperfect, yet we muddled through our problems, and still celebrated our humanity. It was life inside a community, cradled inside a cul-de-sac. I long for a return to those days, to a place of safety and inclusion, a place of belonging.
Thirty years later I built Time Missing, a sculpture that commemorates those days, and captures the layers of geology, topography, history, and memory that construct a physical snapshot of a childhood well-lived.