British-Indians have been a part of British history for the last 400 years. Initially, the migration of Indians to Britain started with the formation of East India Company in 1600 when it started importing Indian spices, textiles, raw-materials etc. to British homes¹. India being one of the important colonies of the Empire witnessed a mass migration of Indians to Britain especially after 1940s. Also around the 1960s, a shift in immigration and nationality laws from labour migration to family settlements, led many Indian families from various regions to settle in Britain. Currently, British-Indians form the largest population of visible diasporic community living in Britain.
Photographer Giles Price, through his series ‘Bengali Barnets’ looks at the emphatic style of the ‘fashionable’ second or third generation of Bengali-British settlers in East London. Followers of American hip-hop and rap culture, these young men aged between 16 to 25 years, while easily inculcating various aspects of multi-cultural globalisation, also try and communicate their unique diasporic identity by constantly inventing new sub-cultural styles. In Bengali-Barnets, individualistic haircuts of Bengali-British young men signify the visible construction of ‘difference’ in identity.
- Asian Britain, a photographic history by Susheila Nasta, The Westbourne Press, 2013.
Giles Price’s interest in photography began while on military service. He joined the Royal Marine Commandos in 1990 at 16 and served in Northern Iraq / Kurdistan at the end of the first Gulf War (1991), during which time he created a snapshot diary, ‘Operation Haven’, now stored in the Imperial War Museum, London. After leaving the military due to injuries sustained in Iraq he went on to study a BA Hons in Photographic Studies at the University of Derby.