'Londombia' photo project celebrates the lives of Colombians in London
There are about 4,500 people in London's Colombian community
Thousands of Colombians have made their home in London over the past three decades — and their stories will be at the centre of a new photo exhibit launching in London this month.
'Londombia' is a photo project celebrating London's Colombian community. It will feature a collection of photos from the everyday lives of Colombians living in the city and celebrate their contributions to the community.
"It's about celebrating the presence of the Colombian community in London, and it's about exploring the different paths that they follow," said Juan Andres Bello, a documentary producer and professor at Western University who is spearheading the project.
"The idea is to tell the story of how they arrived in London and the process of starting a new life in this area," he said.
The exhibit will be on display downtown from May 17 to 27 in Satellite Project Space at 121 Dundas St., with support from the London Heritage Council, CulturX, and Embassy Cultural House.
They've already collected more than 500 photos — depicting everything from daily life and milestones — such as the first day of winter to trips to Niagara Falls.
"There are these patterns," he said, like when people came to visit they'd always take them to Niagara Falls.
The photos project is also about raising awareness on the positive impact Colombians have had on what is London today, said Bello.
"[Colombians] are in almost probably every single area of London's economy. I think that's important. They are working hard to make London a better place, a prosperous place," he said.
"There are many professional business owners. You can find Colombians working in factories, but also teaching at the university. There are Colombian realtors and Colombians who own grocery stores."
More than 4,500 Londoners are Colombian
The first wave of Colombians made London their home three decades ago in the 90s, said Bello.
"It's 30 years, it's a long story. It's probably a good time to start reflecting on that. London is a city that that historically has welcomed immigrant communities," he said. "It's good to collect those stories."
London's nickname 'Londombia' is believed to be coined by José Briceño Medina, who published an online newsletter for the Colombian community in the city, and died in 2018.
Colombians are the largest Spanish-speaking community in London, Bello said. There are about 4,500 Londoners part of the Colombian community, according to Statistics Canada from the 2021 census.
The photo project is still accepting photos through Londombia's website. If people have printed photos, they'll help scan them, said Bello.
What: Londombia photo exhibit
When: May 17 to 27
Where: Satellite Project Space, 121 Dundas St., London
Opening: May 20 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.