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Page last updated at 12:40 GMT, Friday, 25 September 2009 13:40 UK
Telling the story of Latin London
Latin American community in London timeline
Latin Americans settled in London during the 60s to escape political repression

A thriving Latin American community has been a part of London's rich tapestry since the 1960s.

Now, an exhibition is being held to celebrate the history of Latino people in the capital.

"Carnaval del Pueblo: The Story" is being held at the Cuming Museum, Old Walworth Town Hall in south east London.

The exhibition will be open from 1 October 2009 until 28 May 2010 and admission is free.

Don't forget the football

If one thinks of Latin American people then one also thinks of festivals, parties, music and dancing. Yes, sexy football too.

The Latin American community in London has certainly not forgotten their roots. London hosts the largest annual Latin American festival in Europe.

However, there is more to the story of Latin American immigration than showing reserved Britons how to have a good time.

Carnaval del Pueblo: The Story
A mural is prepared for the exhibition

Escaping repression

The first significant numbers of Latin American immigrants began settling in London during the 1960s and 1970s.

They came here to escape from the military dictatorships that were taking hold in countries such as Chile and Colombia.

More recently, people have arrived in London from the Latin American continent to study, to find work or simply just to start a new life.

Sharing the story

The exhibition will document the growth of the Latin American community in London, how they made this city their home and the cultural influence that the community has had in their adopted home.

Exhibits will include oral history interviews, carnival costumes, music, masks and a documentary film.

Julio Echart, who is a Uruguayan photographer, said:

The Latin American community needs to take part more in London life, as well as the English people knowing more about us
Julio Echart

"In the past we used to be more political and nowadays we are growing fast but we are becoming more and more aware of the need to speak English, to communicate, our culture is wonderful but our realities are diverse and we need to share them as we are."

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is supporting the exhibition with a £50,000 grant.

Sue Bowers, head of the HLF in London, said:

"This project will preserve the memories of those involved in the carnival during its formative years and add a valued dimension to the event as an expression of cultural identity for London's Latin American community."

'Carnaval del Pueblo: The Story' will be open from 1 October 2009 until 28 May 2010 at the Cuming Museum, Old Walworth Town Hall, 151 Walworth Road. Admission is free.


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