Halina Edwards, A Place For Everyone

Catching up with Halina Edwards on her recent commission, a textile piece titled ‘A Home For Everyone’, that was exhibited at Vogue Fabrics, the Jamaican born designer and researcher reflects on the work and what it meant to her as well her practice. 


What did this commission mean to you?

It still feels really surreal to get the opportunity to commemorate the Windrush generation and their descendants. It is what my work is about, preservation and memory, so being a part of this project feels incredibly special. It meant a huge lot and I am very thankful that I was able to depict that as a journey and a continuation of my work and my practice.

What was the personal significance of the work being shown at Vogue Fabrics?

Vogue Fabrics was also where my first internship was, with Charles Jeffrey, and last year I finished my masters in the pandemic Charles also picked me and another student to show our work alongside his. So it was strange having the solo exhibition alongside the group exhibition last year, it feels as if I had come 360, with three key milestones at Vogue Fabrics.

What inspired the design?

Because I knew it was going to be outdoors, my first thought was that I wanted it to be seen at all times of the day, which is why I used reflective fabric. I was also conscious of making it site specific to the area, it being next to a school I knew it had to be bold and playful. Things were also beginning to open up with nightlife and so on and I liked the idea of it being a landmark at 1 am and the buses and street lights reflecting off of it. It was more the environment that informed the design, that helped a lot with how it had to read. It was a challenge for me, I had never worked with reflective fabric or any waterproof fabric.

How does this piece fit into your wider practice?

It does slot in, as it  focuses on preservation and connecting to home and identity and as a Windrush descendant, being a part of that migration from the Caribbean, I think that has definitely informed my practice . I wanted the work to provide a sense of home and belonging to the community, Hackney and the wider descendants of the Windrush generation.

What do you think of when you think of Hackney?

I feel familiar with it. When I go down Ridley Road Market I always go to Jimmy’s to get my Caribbean food and snacks, so I think I interact with it in a way that makes me think of home. I hear the different accents, dialects and seeing all the hair shops and different communities, it feels quite protected in that sense.