Photographer displays work symbolising humanity and community in Kensington and Chelsea shops

Shops around Kensington and Chelsea, closed because of the second nationwide lockdown, have been transformed into a pop-up gallery.

Images shot by American award-winning photographer David Taggart have gone on display in 30 shops featuring giant-size photos symbolising humanity and community.

Aiming to unite the local community during a time of isolation and disconnection, the Republic of YOUmanity initiative was conceived only 36 hours before the latest lockdown by author and photographer Maryam Eisler, with fellow arts patrons Maria Sukkar and Shirley Elghanian.

“We should be concentrating on humanity and the qualities that make us human, namely compassion, inclusivity and empathy, during this time of disconnectedness and isolation,” said Maryam. “Art has the power to connect us all, enabling dialogue. It’s time to put traditional limitations aside and concentrate on helping one another and coming together as a community.”

The thought-provoking images of people across the world, captured during the photographer’s decades of globe-trotting, are on sale to the public at a fraction of Taggart’s usual price.

All proceeds will be donated to CW+, the official charity of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Republic of YOUmanity creators urge people to look at humanity beyond conventional definitions of geographical, religious, or cultural borders, and instead focus on the importance of community.

“Through my pictures I offer a deeper look at people and to what connects us all,” said David Taggart. “Despite living in a hyper-connected world, people feel more disconnected than ever.

“My hope is for people to look at themselves through others, opening hearts and minds. Republic of Humanity is about storytelling; it is a community of seekers who desire to understand our shared humanity through my pictures.”

Eisler, Sukkar, Elghanian and Taggart are aiming to raise £50,000 for CW+ to fund projects at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

Says CW+ CEO Chris Chaney: “The response from our community in this most challenging of years has been incredible.

“That our friends and supporters are still looking to help us and our colleagues across the hospital through new initiatives like the YOUmanity project means so much to everyone at Chelsea and Westminster.”

The Republic of YOUmanity project will run until December 13.

Main Pic: Shirley Elghanian, Maria Sukkar and Maryam Eisler outside Chelsea and Westminster Hospital



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