Pompey Heroes Project: A retrospective

The Pompey Heroes is a project by Portsmouth-based photographer Olufemi Olaiya, which honours the brave key workers who volunteered and worked tirelessly at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic to improve the lives of the people of Portsmouth.

Our lives have changed significantly since the Covid-19 outbreak, and these pictures put a face to the efforts of those heroes and show the ethnic, cultural and religious diversity of our city. The sitters included are uniform services, teachers, bus drivers, engineers, pharmacists and many more.

Throughout the last 18 months, Olufemi has created these amazing portraits, which have been displayed at key locations around Portsmouth, including Palmerston road, Commercial Road, Cascades Shopping Centre and Fratton Road.

For this special ‘We Shine’ event at Aspex, Olufemi will present the full series of portraits as a digital projection, shining a light on the incredible key workers one more time and radiating the belief that together we can create a better future for humanity. “It gives me so much joy to be able to showcase the entire collection of the Pompey heroes project to the public with most of; if not all the keyworkers I photographed present. I can’t wait to share this special moment with everyone who played a part in making this project successful. The moment will put into context sacrifices made by everyone involved since we embarked on this journey 18months ago.” – Olufemi Olaiya Olufemi

David Olaiya is a Nigerian-born, UK-based photographer specialising in portrait, fashion and architecture photography. His work captures people, buildings and spaces to reflect what exists and is created through the synergy and symbiotic relation different entities share. In his photographs, Olufemi captures the essence of his subjects in a profound manner that forms the basis for wider dialogue about the world we live in.

This event will take place in the Learning Space at Aspex, and booking details can be found on our website, aspex.org.uk. Aspex would kindly request all visitors to continue to social distance and wear a face covering when moving around our public spaces, unless previously exempt. Port Coffee will be selling alcoholic and soft drinks throughout the evening.