My parents and I moved to London when I was just two years old from Tunisia, and I’ve been here ever since. When I was little, I remember going to Walthamstow market all the time with my mum – I loved all the sights, flavours and interactions. You never knew who or what you were going to see there.
The local community in Walthamstow is made up of incredibly warm, hard-working people. So often, they don’t get time to take a step back and recognise the beauty they bring with them. The people at the market are just working hard to survive, each with their own complex stories, and they come together for a short time in this simple way to get their vegetables or clothes.
For people from marginalised communities, archiving the things that are important to us is essential. Our narratives are never as rigorously documented as white narratives – and often when they are documented, they are sensationalised.
I’m interested in exploring the idea of belonging, particularly how diaspora communities find belonging in different ways wherever they go, and markets are definitely a part of that. Aunty can haggle there the way she used to in Djerba, Uncles can sit around together at a friends stall without it being a ‘loitering’ issue. A market is such an important space where communities can act in ways that are reminiscent of home.
Stallholders say the market has changed a lot over the years. Gentrification of the surrounding area has reduced traffic flow to the market, and there are fewer people coming there to shop than before. These photos can hopefully act as an archive of the normalcy and beauty of Walthamstow market for whoever it might matter to in the future if we ever lose these important communal spaces.