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Deanio X (b. 1989)

Portrait of John (Big John) Richards

b. 26 April 1926, Jamaica | Came to Britain in 1948 | Acrylic, chalk, charcoal, graphite, ink, water on paper |

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John was a passenger aboard the HMT Empire Windrush, arriving at Tilbury Docks on the 22 June 1948. He lodged in Clapham South Underground Station before finding work with British Railways where he was employed for 40 years. He met his wife Lyn in 1956 and settled in North London. John played for Range Park Cricket Club and was one of the founding members of the Learie Constantine West Indian Association, as part of his work against racial injustice and inequality.

Artist Deanio X’s reflection

I am glad to contribute through art, to the immortalisation of a living example of dignity, strength and resilience such as Big John. At 96 years old Big John is, simply put, a veteran of life; in our meetings … we shared a quiet space, our communication more optic than verbal ... Big John became a metaphor of an unyielding monument, unmoving in the face of rushing winds and treacherous waves.